Politics

GOP Senate candidate’s staff, pregnant wife victims of ‘politically based’ vehicular vandalism

Photo of Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

Since he is a Republican who appears to have a shot at unseating Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin, Bongino told TheDC he thinks these attacks on his staffers’ and wife’s cars indicate “that someone is starting to realize that this is a very serious campaign that could do some damage to the one-party monopoly here in Maryland.”

Bongino left the U.S. Secret Service, where he protected President Barack Obama, to run for Senate. He said attacks and acts of vandalism like this won’t scare him out of the Senate race. “I’ll tell you what: If they think they’re intimidating me, they’re out of their minds,” Bongino told TheDC. “I spent 12 years travelling around the world with the Secret Service. I’m the last guy to do a Secret Service advance in an active war zone with the president’s life in my hands. If they think for a second that they’re going to put a few nails in my cars and we’re going to leave the race or be intimidated, they only serve the complete opposite purpose, which was to further solidify in my mind why I did the right thing by leaving the job to run for office here.”

Bongino won’t name names about who he suspects committed the acts of vandalism, but he doubts Cardin is personally behind it.

“I would be speculating at that point, but I know this: I know it was definitely directed at us, at our specific campaign, and obviously by our opponents, not our supporters,” Bongino said. “Who that was, who specifically that was — whether an outside group or someone else — I have a hard time believing Senator Cardin himself instructed anyone to do it. But there’s no question some group that does not share our campaign’s values targeted our vehicles. There’s no question about it.”

Cardin’s campaign director, Shelly Hettleman, told TheDC that violence and vandalism are unacceptable.

“I can state unequivocally that there is no place for vandalism in a political campaign,” Hettleman said in an email. “Violence of any kind is inexcusable and should not be tolerated.”

Bongino’s campaign has filed police reports with the Anne Arundel County Police Department. A spokesman for the police department hasn’t immediately returned TheDC’s request for comment or more information.

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