Independent Candidate for Senate Gaining Ground in Maryland

Sobhani wants to be included in debates

A recent entry in the race for Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin’s Senate seat has outspent both the incumbent and his Republican challenger on campaign ads, and now he’s showing up in the polls.

Independent candidate Rob Sobhani is a former Georgetown University professor, an expert on the Middle East and runs his own company, Caspian Energy Consulting, which works with business interests in the Middle East and the former Soviet Union. He has made enough money to pay for his Senate campaign.

“I was blessed this year that I hit the jackpot,” Sobhani said. “Well, I could have chosen to buy a house – another one – but I chose to put it in this effort because this is a noble effort. America’s a great country, and people like myself owe our success to this country.”

Sen. Cardin sent an email to supporters Friday asking for their financial help and saying one of his opponents already spent $3 million on political ads on TV, and he wants to be able to respond to any and all attacks.

"Every dollar will help us go toe to toe with our opponent by airing our own TV aids,” the email says. “Please give $5 today so we can respond and win this race.”

Republican candidate Dan Bongino said he began TV ads this week and has raised $700,000 this reporting period.

“I’m the only non-millionaire in this race, so I’m the only middle class representative fighting for the middle class because those problems bleed for me,” Bongino said. “I don’t read about them in books. It’s not an academic issue for me. These are real world problems. I’m funded by small donors. Only 3 percent of my donations have been from PACs.”

The recent Gonzales poll shows Cardin with a strong lead -- 50 percent of the vote. Bongino has 22 percent, and Sobhani has 21 percent. Seven percent are undecided. The margin of error is 3.5 percent.

Sobhani claims his opponents have excluded him from upcoming debates, but they said he will be included if there is enough public interest.

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