Friday, September 7, 2012

Sen. Ben Cardin & GOP Challenger Dan Bongino Now Face Independent Republican from MoCo with a $700K Ad Buy

Rob Sobhani, independent for U.S. Senate
A NEW SENATE CANDIDATE IN MARYLAND: News outlets are buzzing about a new competitor for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Ben Cardin and being sought by Republican challenger Dan Bongino. WBAL reports that a businessman has gathered over 77,000 signatures and will appear on the Maryland ballot as an independent (excerpt below):
WBAL: A Potomac businessman and former professor of political economy at Georgetown University has launched a run for U.S. Senate in Maryland.

Rob Sobhani submitted 77,000 signatures to the Maryland State Board of Elections and has been certified to run as an independent for the seat now held by Democrat Ben Cardin.

"I'm running as an independent, because I think our political system is broken, and both political parties have let the American people down," Sobhani told WBAL News.

He is the CEO of Caspian Group Holdings which has holdings in energy, publishing and technology, according to the company website....

$700,000 TELEVISION AD BUY FOR ROB SOBHANI? - Notably, yesterday the Cardin campaign sent out a fundraising solicitation from Sen. Barbara Mikulski which noted:
BARBARA  MIKULSKI: I'm at the convention and just heard news I wanted to share right away: an independent candidate for Senate in Maryland has dropped more than $700,000 on TV ads that began airing yesterday.

With potential attacks coming from a Tea Party Super PAC, and now this, we could see a lot of false charges leveled at Ben.

Sobhani's website ( provides his television ad, which you can see below. If Cardin's campaign is right, this ad and others, may appear with decent frequency in parts of Maryland:

SOBHANI WAS A TWO-TIME GOP CANDIDATE - Tea Partiers in Maryland are already pondering the impact of Sobhani's entry in the race. Check out an excerpt from the following post at the Potomac Tea Party Report, which notes that Sobhani previously ran for office as a Republican:
POTOMAC TEA PARTY REPORT: ...In a report earlier this week at WBAL, Sobhani is quoted as saying he will build more affordable housing in Baltimore, get more kids internships, and build and repair more roads and bridges and he expects to do the billion-dollar projects with private money.  Two previous primary losses in quests for the Senate as a Republican probably convinced Sobhani that running now required that he gather enough signatures to get his name placed on the ballot....

A quick glance at his FEC filings indicates that he has so far self-financed his campaign with nearly a quarter of a million dollars and most of his expenses reported went for professional  outfits who gather petition signatures.  So, readers this is nothing like the grassroots enthusiastic hard work that went into most of the ballot questions that you are familiar with.  He used paid signature gatherers.

It is unclear whether Sobhani, as spoiler, will take more votes from incumbent Senator Ben Cardin or his most popular challenger Dan Bongino....

ABOUT ROB SOBHANI: The website bio for Sobhani notes the following background (excerpt below):
...Born in Kansas, Rob lived for a period during his early years in Iran, where his family originated.  After 1979, Rob's parents fled persecution in Iran and immigrated to the United States, where Rob had already begun his higher education. He earned first his bachelors and later his doctorate at Georgetown University, where he later served as an adjunct professor in political economy....

Rob is a prolific writer, frequently on foreign policy, energy security and economic development in scores of major publications, and is frequently invited as an expert commentator on television programs. He serves on the board of directors of the c5i Corporation, a high tech firm, and is a member of the bipartisan Committee on the Present Danger. Rob is an usher at the St. Francis Episcopal Church in Potomac, is married and has two children.  They live in Montgomery County, which has been his home for the last 33 years.

Interesting development! Maybe this will spice up the Senate race a bit this cycle....

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