In John Delaney’s words: “The American people are far greater than the sum of our political parties. It is time for us to rise above our broken politics and renew the spirit that enabled us to achieve the seemingly impossible. This is why I am running for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States.”
That’s how the Democratic Maryland House Rep began a Washington Post op-ed published today, announcing himself as the first Democrat to enter the race for president in 2020.
Many had been speculating as to whether (and when) Delaney would join the contest for the governor’s mansion in Annapolis, so you’re not alone if you’re surprised. Signs of Delaney presidential run emerged earlier this week, with Maryland Matters and Bethesda Magazine (whose audience lives in Delaney’s district) reporting he was set to make some kind of announcement today. Politico also reported yesterday that “chatter” had been building from Maryland Dems that he might skip a campaign for Annapolis in favor of a White House run.
In his op-ed, Delaney cited “excessive partisanship” in D.C. as a motivator to run, and said the Trump administration “is making us less prosperous and less secure.”
He touted his self-described identity as a “progressive businessman” – he generated his wealth in part by founding two banks and taking them public before age 40 – as a strength, arguing he’s able to work across party lines with free-market defenders on the GOP side.
He said he’s most concerned with updating the country’s infrastructure for the future in a way that will create new jobs for skilled workers. He also mentioned the needs to invest in science and education, eliminate barriers to entrepreneurship, strengthen social safety net program and – no small task, of course – “reform the systems of education, health care and immigration.”
As a result of his decision, Delaney is forgoing a re-election bid for his House seat representing the 6th Congressional District, which stretches awkwardly from Potomac in Montgomery County to the northern and westernmost boundaries of Maryland. He won his district in 2012, and has defended his position in two subsequent elections. Politico reports state Sen. Roger Manno and Dels. Aruna Miller and Bill Frick are all eyeing runs for his congressional seat.
His decision should be a welcome one to the crowded field of Democratic challengers to Gov. Larry Hogan. That pool includes Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, state Sen. Richard Madaleno, ex-NAACP president Ben Jealous, policy consultant (and wife to Rep. Elijah Cummings) Maya Rockeymoore, local attorney Jim Shea and tech entrepreneur Alec Ross. Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and former Attorney General Doug Gansler are rumored to be mulling run, too.
Hogan, meanwhile, probably has even less reason now to be scared about his job. He’s posting strong polling numbers heading into gubernatorial election season.