Opposition to illegal Immigration and related issues have been synonymous with Pat McDonough since the Middle River Republican was elected to Maryland House of Delegates in 2002.
Now that a bill that would grant in-state college tuition rates to some illegal immigrants is set to be on the 2012 ballot, McDonough appears ready to see if that link could propel him to a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Or perhaps even the Senate.
McDonough hinted at a 2012 campaign during a July 9 interview with me.
"I want to be on the ballot with the referendum," McDonough told me.
He declined at the time to say exactly what race he was considering though it had long been known he was exploring a run against Rep. C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger.
Late Wednesday, McDonough announced that he continues to consider challenging five-term Democratic Rep. Ruppersberger but is also eying a run for Senate against Ben Cardin.
"After much thought and consultations with others, 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 said in a statement. "There is very little difference between Dutch Ruppersberger and Ben Cardin. They are liberal political twins and Obama clones. My vision for America is completely different than their tax and spend big government agenda.”
Daniel Bongino, a former New York police officer and Secret Service agent, has already announced his intentions to seek the GOP nomination and challenge Cardin.
"I want to ensure the citizens of MD that I respect the primary process along with anyone who chooses to enter the race @ this critical moment in our history," Bongino wrote. "But, make no mistake, I will never give up this fight. I left it all on the line because I believe in an idea much greater than me & no one can silence that."
McDonough, in his statement, said part of the decision is out of his control.
"These are unsettling times where the pathway is not always clear," McDonough said in his statement. "Unfortunately, the decisions that we make are overly controlled by outside forces."
The deciding factor is likely to be the redrawing of the state's eight congressional districts. is holding meetings around the state between July and September.
It is expected to deliver recommendations for redrawing the districts by the time the General Assembly meets for a special session scheduled for the week of Oct. 17.
McDonough said he remains interested in running against Ruppersberger even though the district "remains a challenge" for a Republican candidate.
"Of course, the redistricting and the new district will not be revealed until October," McDonough said in his statement. "At that time, if the 2nd Congressional District transforms from ‘uphill to impossible,’ my personal decision will become clear. It will not make any sense to ask family, friends, and supporters to engage in a campaign that cannot be won. That will be a choice forced upon me by political powers over which I have no influence or control.”
None of this means McDonough will run for either seat.
In 2010, McDonough said he was considering runs for both governor and Baltimore County executive. He also had considered a run for state Senate.
None of those campaigns materialized.