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Bongino wins Senate GOP primary, to face Cardin

ANNAPOLIS — Former U.S. Secret Service agent Daniel Bongino won the Republican nomination for Senate in Maryland on Tuesday night, and he will face Democratic incumbent Sen. Benjamin Cardin in the general election.

Bongino highlighted the need for reducing tax rates during his campaign and simplifying the tax code, which he contends has become riddled with deductions for favored industries.

“It’s a cronyist tax code that only benefits people who are connected to insiders,” Bongino told The Associated Press after he won.

Bongino also said he will be campaigning to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Bongino defeated Richard Douglas, a Bush administration appointee, and eight other candidates in the GOP primary. Preliminary election results show Bongino with 34 percent of the vote, compared to 28 percent for Douglas, with 96 percent of precincts reporting.

Bongino was endorsed by several state lawmakers, including state Sen. Edward Reilly, and Delegates Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, Nic Kipke and Cathy Vitale.

Preliminary election results show Cardin won 74 percent of the vote, with 96 percent of the precincts reporting. State Sen. C. Anthony Muse, of Prince George’s, was the next closest candidate in the Democratic primary with 16 percent. No other candidate gained more than 3 percent in the eight-way contest.

Cardin picked up key Democratic endorsements, including from President Barack Obama, Gov. Martin O’Malley, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Kweisi Mfume, a former congressman and former head of the NAACP.

After learning he had won, Cardin said he would focus on opposing Republican efforts to undo progress on health care, women’s rights and the environment.

“I’ve made it clear that that’s not going to happen under my watch,” Cardin said in a telephone interview.

Cardin has served one term in the Senate. He served 10 terms in the House of Representatives.

Muse, a pastor, has been a member of the state Senate since 2007. Before that, he served in the House of Delegates from 1995 to 1999.

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