McDonough: Possibly in for Senate
Del. Patrick McDonough, the conservative Baltimore County Republican who helped to lead the petition drive opposing the Maryland Dream Act, may be “taking a serious look” at a run for U.S. Senate in Maryland in an effort to unseat Democratic Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin next year.
Then again, maybe not.
In an unusually timed statement released Wednesday night, McDonough said he would either run for Senate or for the House of Representatives from the 2nd Congressional District, which is currently represented by Democratic Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger.
The determining factor: The state’s redistricting process.
“As you may know, I have been testing the waters for a possible campaign against Dutch Ruppersberger for a seat in the 2nd Congressional District,” the statement began. “Of course, the re-districting and the new district will not be revealed until October. At that time, if the 2nd Congressional District transforms from ‘uphill to impossible,’ my personal decision will become clear.
“I have decided that if the 2nd Congressional District is gerrymandered rendering it impossible to win, I will take a serious look at seeking the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat in Maryland.”
McDonough could not be reached for comment after the statement was released at 10:30 on Wednesday. On Thursday, in an interview with The Sun, he was more direct than his statement: “I am going to be on the ballot one way or the other.” He noted that he has no control over redistricting, a process that will be handled solely by Democrats.
McDonough said he is not concerned about the possible fundraising challenge of jumping into a statewide race in October, arguing he has already expanded his base of supporters through the successful petition drive and other efforts. Cardin, considered a safe bet by non-partisan political observers such as the Cook Political Report, raised $1 million in the second quarter of this year and has $1.8 million in the bank.
“My decision to consider a run for Congress is based on two simple conclusions: 1) Washington is a mess. 2) I believe I can help make a difference,” his statement read. “My top priority is to serve in Washington as a representative of the people.”
One of McDonough’s competitors for the GOP nomination, Daniel Bongino, said that McDonough’s decision would not affect his campaign strategy.
“While we respect Delegate McDonough for the work he has done for the Republican Party, our campaign is not waiting on his decision (of) which office he wishes to run for,” Bongino said in a statement. “Washington has failed us and there is no time to sit back and watch the game, we will remain on the field and continue this fight.”
Update: McDonough's statement on Wednesday came late because it followed an item that appeared on the blog Red Maryland, which was the first to report that he was considering a run.