Yesterday as Red Maryland reported, the “Jackpot” Rob Sobhani campaign wangled Republican Delegate and MDPetitions.com chair Neil Parrott and a spokesperson for Republican Delegate Pat McDonough into participating in a “tele-townhall” meeting about the referendum questions on this year’s ballot. Sobhani didn’t have a position on any of those questions until after buying his way on to the ballot. Now suddenly he was leading a town hall meeting featuring the two Republicans most associated with getting those questions on the ballot. This allowed Sobhani in subsequent robo-calls to drop the names of Dan Bongino supporters creating the impression that they were supporting Sobhani and not Bongino.
Especially considering the fact that Sobhani himself has avoided taking a firm stand on any of the ballot questions, dismissing them with an air of I’m an Independent™ and won’t lower myself to the level of the two party system. Chances that Sobhani would have followed through with his “townhall” if it didn’t give him an opportunity to drop Republican names and confuse voters? Zero.
Pressure via social media convinced Parrott and McDonough to release statements reaffirming their endorsements of Dan Bongino which hopefully will mitigate at least some of the damage caused by this major misstep.
Over at The Examiner, Jim Simpson writes a great summation of the shenanigans of Rob Sobhani’s campaign for Senate. Simpson also delves into the nature of the “jackpot” Sobhani credits as his reason for running. Perhaps the most thought provoking part of Simpson’s article is the final few paragraphs:
The only possible rational explanation for Sobhani’s entering the race is to be a spoiler for Bongino, and that is exactly what he has done. But why?
Sobhani likes those “public-private partnerships” that Obama loves so much. You know, like Solyndra and TracFone. Mark these words: Rob Sobhani will “hit the jackpot” in a “public-private” partnership with an unnamed foreign entity, miraculously arranged by contacts at the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, where Senator Cardin just happens to have a seat - after the election.
After all, that’s the way it’s done in Azerbaijan.
Sobhani won’t win the Senate election but he may have spoiled conservative’s best chance in a long time to make some serious change in this state. Rest assured that we don’t have a Senator-elect Dan Bongino on November 7 (or even if we do), we will be watching Jackpot Sobhani and “his friend Ben.”
The conservative new media in Maryland is just getting started.
No one in the Maryland news media is really vetting unaffiliated Senate candiate Rob Sobhani. Sure, there have been some interviews and some pieces on TV news but he’s being treated as a novelty news item and not a serious story. This may be because they see him as someone with virtually no chance at winning, but the problem is while he may have no chance he can do serious harm to the campaign of Dan Bongino who might otherwise have a good chance at upsetting Ben Cardin on election day. For the uncurious news media, a Cardin victory has always been a fait accompli and that is probably the primary reason why they have failed to do their job with regard to this race. But they have indeed failed because the unprincipled ,scattershot campaign Sobhani is running should raise serious questions for even a novice reporter.
Sobhani’s campaign came out of nowhere at the last minute and has no support beyond those easily swayed by the vague television ads on which Sobhani has spent millions of dollars. Looking at his campaign finance data on OpenSecrets.org one finds out he has a whopping $34,510 in small and large contributions to his campaign, yet he has spent more money so far than the Democrat incumbent.
What has he spent that money on? On television and radio commercials that reveal a candidate with no core principles and only weird promises to bring private investment into the state. No one in the media that I’m aware of has asked this guy any serious, probing questions. In a local NBC puff piece on Sobhani he was asked why he was running and he said it was because he “hit the jackpot” and out of the goodness of his heart he decided to bless the voters with his candidacy instead of buying another house.
Sobhani’s principles change depending on whether you look at his pitch sheet, his answers to interview questions (here, and here for example), his answers in candidate forums, or the ballot flyers his team is handing out near polling places. Sobhani’s campaign ads attack Ben Cardin who holds virtually the same political views as Barack Obama, but in 65% black Prince Georges County, his campaign literature is emblazoned with a portrait of the President and encourages his re-election.
This is the worst sort of cynical, racial pandering. That same campaign literature encourages voting “NO” on all the ballot questions on which Sobhani has refused to make definitive statements. To anyone doing his homework it’s clear that Sobhani has no principles other than doing what’s good for Sobhani at any given moment. It seems laughable until you consider all the people who have broken their backs the last year and a half fighting for real change in Maryland, only to have this charlatan spend $6 million just to spit on them.
Sobhani’s candidacy is so preposterous it has some murmuring suspicion that he’s actually a plant working for Ben Cardin, deliberately trying to derail the serious challenge Dan Bongino presents. I don’t know if such conspiracy theories have any merit, but Sobhani brags about having Democrats on his campaign. I could imagine a situation where a Democrat knowing of Sobhani’s penchant for political failure might have encouraged him to jump in the race as a way to seal a victory for a lackluster, at-risk Democrat incumbent.
Sobhani strikes me as naive enough to fall for such a thing. But whether or not someone is pulling his strings, I think his ego is largely the problem. He’s so focused on his own desire to run that he fails to see that there already was a movement for big change in Washington and it has sided with Dan Bongino who, while running as a Republican, is hardly the political party insider of Sobhani’s hackneyed slogans. With this being his third attempt at elected office, Sobhani himself is more of a career politician than Dan Bongino, who resigned from his job in 2011 to make this first ever run for office.
Clearly Sobhani is running for Sobhani and not for Maryland, even if he has deluded himself to the contrary. His continued ridiculous presence in this race is practically a guarantee that Maryland will have to wait at least another election cycle to get any real change.
As if Rob Sobhani couldn’t get any more tedious, the candidate who entered the race late with only the support of his own personal “jackpot” winnings is now portraying himself as a martyr for his imaginary cause.
The campaign of Independent candidate for the U.S. Senate Rob Sobhani today announced it has learned that both incumbent Senator Ben Cardin and the Republican nominee in the race told a Baltimore radio station – so far the only venue for a debate in Maryland’s senate race – that neither would appear if Rob Sobhani were allowed to share the platform with them.
This is in direct contradiction to a statement by Dan Bongino (who Sobhani conveniently does not mention by name).
This is a pivotal election that requires a serious commitment. I am deeply disappointed in the recent actions of the “Independent” candidate in this election. Regarding the debates schedule, there is no effort to keep the candidate out of the debates. His campaign is fabricating stories in an attempt to distract from his confusing platform. At NO time did we meet with any media outlet & state that the candidate should be kept out of any debate. Any assertions otherwise are nonsense & we challenge any member of his campaign to prove otherwise. Any forum he was not included in was due to the fact that he was not invited by the host. I am sorry to waste time on trivial issues but I will never allow my credibility to be challenged by those who consistently traffic in misdirection & lies.
I’ve gotten to know Dan Bongino fairly well in the past year and if I have to decide who to believe in this dispute, it’s not going to be a shady candidate who can’t even figure out the rules about where he can stick his yard signs. As far as Senator Cardin goes, I’ve seen no statements from him acknowledging Sobhani’s existence. He clearly gains more from Sobhani’s boondoggle than anyone so I wouldn’t expect to. Many believe Cardin is actually orchestrating it.
Sobhani’s “campaign” is based on vague promises about foreign investment in Maryland and cronyism euphemized as public-private partnerships. Sobhani hasn’t even taken positions on the major issues that have energized Maryland’s voters over the last 4 years. (He still needs more information to decide whether or not Obamacare should be repealed, for example.) In fact Sobhani would probably be more at home as an audience member in an “undecided voter” town hall debate than as a candidate for anything.
I doubt Sobhani really wants to participate in any of these debates, preferring to play the set upon underdog. Debating either Dan Bongino or Ben Cardin would only expose the vacuousness of Sobhani’s pointless candidacy. If the legitimate candidates–the kind with actual supporters–had in fact refused to debate him, they would be doing him a favor.