John Delaney 2020 presidential campaign

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Friends of John Delaney
John Delaney 2020 logo.svg
Campaign2020 United States presidential election (Democratic primaries)
CandidateJohn Delaney
U.S. Representative from Maryland (2013–2019)
AffiliationDemocratic Party
StatusAnnounced: July 28, 2017
HeadquartersBethesda, Maryland
Key peopleTerry Lierman (co-chair)[1]
John Davis (senior advisor)[2]
ReceiptsUS$18,018,435.43 (April 2019)
SloganFocus on the Future
John Delaney

The 2020 presidential campaign of John Delaney, the former U.S. Representative who represented Maryland's 6th congressional district from 2013 to 2019, was announced on July 28, 2017.[3] Delaney was the first prominent Democrat to announce a campaign for the 2020 U.S. presidential election. If elected, Delaney would be the first Marylander to serve as President of the United States, and the second Catholic. As of December 2, 2019, Delaney has not reached greater than 1% in a national poll.[4]


Delaney is a three-term congressman, representing Maryland's 6th district.[5] He has a background as a businessman and entrepreneur.[5][6]

Before Delaney announced that he was running for the presidency, he was considered a potential candidate for Maryland's 2018 gubernatorial election.[5]

Delaney has said that he began considering a presidential run following Hillary Clinton's surprise defeat by Republican nominee Donald Trump in the 2016 election.[5]

In May 2017, Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's program Hardball and the husband of Maryland Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Matthews, said that Delaney had set up an office in Maryland that he speculated might be for a presidential run.[7] At the time, Delaney's office denied this speculation.[7] Later that month, Delaney said, "I am not running for president."[7]

Campaign announcement[edit]

Initial campaign logo.

Delaney launched his campaign announcement with the publication of an op-ed column on the Washington Post's website, which coincided with the launch of a campaign Twitter account and YouTube account, on which he posted a five-minute video outlining his plans.[8] Rumors of Delaney's campaign arose the day before the publication of his op-ed.[9]

In order to focus on his run for the presidency, Delaney did not run for reelection to Congress in 2018.[3][10][11][7]

It is highly unusual for a serious presidential candidate to announce so early. Previously Republican Pete du Pont had held the record of the earliest announcement; du Pont announced his campaign for the 1988 election in 1986, 615 days before the start of the Iowa caucuses.[12]

Delaney has said that launching his campaign at such an early date is in order to gain name recognition,[5] and to elevate his national stature.[6] Voicing his objection to playing coy about his intentions in an interview with Business Insider, Delaney said,

Time struck me as an asset, not a liability. I also have never liked the cat-and-mouse games that some politicians play about running — running, not running, running when everyone knows they're running. So my view is I came to the decision to do it. I'd like to spend a lot of time working to achieve it, and I felt that was the right thing to do to achieve that.[6]

Delaney has also said of his strategy,

In many ways I'm running an old-fashioned kind of style campaign. The best analogy to what I'm doing is what Jimmy Carter did in 1976. In 1974, the New York Times wrote a story about the 35 people likely to be the Democratic nominee for president and Jimmy Carter wasn't on the list. But what he did was get in really early and spend a lot of time in the really important states.[13]

In another interview, Delaney said of his campaign's approach,

At this point, it’s a very personal campaign, it’s focused on meeting as many people as possible... I am pursuing a bit of an old-fashioned strategy in some ways, which is meeting the voters.[14]

Delaney has recognized that his campaign faces difficult odds, saying,

I know what I'm getting into. Obviously, this is a very significant undertaking but I really do believe I have something to say. So just like [the] guy in Tiananmen Square when he stood in front of the tank didn't really quite know how he was going to beat the tank. I understand running for president is a huge challenge but, you know, I'm ready for it.[7]


Early campaigning[edit]

Delaney campaigning in New Hampshire in January 2019


Delaney said that he planned to begin his campaign by touring critical swing states.[5] During a long congressional recess in August 2017, he begin touring the country,[15] beginning in Iowa.[5][16] In Iowa, he met with Democratic activists, interviewed potential campaign staff, and attended the Iowa State Fair with his family.[17][18]

In late August, Delaney attended a New Hampshire Senate fundraiser in Brentwood, New Hampshire.[16] While his visits to New Hampshire came incredibly early for a declared candidate (twenty-nine months before the state's primary), several other potential (undeclared) candidates were making similarly-timed visits to the state.[19] Commenting on this, Delaney said of his visit,

It is early in a traditional context, but if you compare it to other people who are likely running for president, they're just not saying it. I'm early with my transparency, but not with my activities.[19]

Delaney said that he hopes to take advantage of other prospective candidates being reticent about their ambitions. He suspects that he will be solitary in the field of declared candidates for the Democratic candidates for at least one and a half years. He believes it will be advantageous to be the only declared candidate at a time when voters already have an appetite to hear from alternatives to the incumbent presidential administration.[19] Delaney said,

Normally people would say, eight months into a new president, let's give him a chance. I don't think people are really saying that.[19]

On September 17, the campaign announced that Terry Lierman would serve as a co-chair.[1] Lierman had previously served as the treasurer of Martin O'Malley's 2016 presidential campaign and the national finance co-chair of Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign.[1] On September 20, the campaign announced that it had hired Iowa political consultant John Davis as a senior advisor.[2]

In September, Delaney made his first trip to South Carolina, and his second trip to Iowa.[20] By the end of 2017, Delaney said that he had held a combined 90 events in Iowa and New Hampshire.[21]


By late January 2018, Delaney reported to have already held "100 events on the ground in Iowa and New Hampshire".[22] He declared that he intended to hold a total of 400 events in 2018.[21]

In February, Delaney ran his first television advertisement in Iowa, touting his bipartisanship. The advertisement first aired during the broadcast of Super Bowl LII.[23]

In early April, Delaney began running ads in Iowa critical of the negative impacts that the Trump tariffs were expected to have on Iowa's farmers.[24] Later that month, Delaney made his seventh campaign trip to the state of New Hampshire.[14]

By the middle of May, Delaney said that he had made a total of 19 trips and held a total of 200 campaign stops in the states of Iowa and New Hampshire.[25] He had thus far been focusing his campaign efforts predominately in those two states, as well as in South Carolina, another early-primary state.[26] Delaney also campaigned on behalf of candidates running in the 2018 mid-terms, including those running in congressional and local elections in the states of Ohio and Maryland.[26]

Prominent conservative columnist George F. Will wrote a column for the Washington Post in November 2018, in which he touted Delaney's blue collar roots and opined that Democrats should consider nominating Delaney if they are serious about defeating President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.[27]


Delaney speaking to the California Democratic Party State Convention in 2019.

By early 2019, as the field of Democratic candidates began to grow, Delaney had been firmly placed as a more centrist candidate.[28] Delaney also garnered endorsements from four Iowa Democratic County Chairs. He is the first candidate who has received endorsements from Iowa Democratic Party county chairs. Delaney has also expanded his campaign, opening seven offices in Iowa and his first in New Hampshire.[citation needed]

He held his first town hall on March 8 at WMUR TV in Manchester, New Hampshire. He will have his second town-hall on March 10 on CNN in Austin, Texas.[29]

Delaney had a standout moment during a debate in Detroit[30], which resulted in a fundraising surge.[31]


In his campaign, Delaney has promoted himself as, "a leading voice in Congress on 21st century jobs, education, veterans issues, and infrastructure."[32]

In the op-ed announcing his candidacy, Delaney wrote,

The Democratic Party cherishes opportunity over birthright; wants people to earn a good living; offers a helping hand to the poor, the immigrant and those left behind; wants all Americans to have health care; embraces diversity, equality and justice; understands the importance of global engagements; believes that government can do transformative things; and stands ready to provide for our common defense. This is why I'm a Democrat.[3]

Delaney believes that the Democratic Party needs to be a big tent.[33] He intends to appeal to voters that are dissatisfied with the increasingly radicalized stances which both parties have adopted.[6] A centrist, Delaney touts his own bipartisan credentials as evidence of his ability to transcend the partisan divide.[3][6] Delaney proclaims himself to be a progressive interested in creating "real–not political–progress."[32] Delaney views bipartisan cooperation as being more important than progressive goals.[34][35]

Delaney has promised that, if elected president, he will act as a unifier, acting on a bipartisan-only basis in his first 100-day to advance existing bipartisan measures. He has promised that, as president, he will engage in quarterly debates with congress.[36]

As of 2019, as a congressman Delaney had voted in support of President Trump's positions 34.4% of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight's assessment.[37]

Delaney has criticized Donald Trump for, amongst other things, being divisive, saying,

As long as President Trump is in the White House, the Republican Party can never be the party that brings this country together, almost by definition. His principle operating philosophy is to divide people.[36]


Campaign finances[edit]

Delaney has said that he won't accept any assistance from political action committees.[5]

By the end of June, Delaney's campaign had raised more than $270,000 in funds, including more than $60,000 in individual contributions.[38] By the end of September, the campaign had raised more than $750,000 in funds, and had more than $300,000 in unspent funds.[39]

Delaney has self-funded much of his campaign thus far.[40] As of January 2019 Delaney had loaned his campaign committee $2.5 million of his own money,[41] and had contributed, as opposed to loaned, an additional $80,000.[42] However, Delaney has also received about $1.1 million in contributions.[43]

Friends of John Delaney quarterly financial summaries
Quarter Cash on hand at beginning Cash on hand at end Receipts Disbursements Debts/loans owed by campaign Debts/loans owed to campaign
2017 Q1[44] 22,042.84 65,398.59 83,825.05 40,469.30 1,183,250.00 0.00
2017 Q2[45] 65,398.59 54,024.96 187,588.60 198,962.23 1,243,250.00 0.00
2017 Q3[46] 54,024.96 313,073.96 577,085.53 318,036.53 1,243,250.00 0.00
2017 Q4[47] 313,073.96 379,442.19 647,299.54 580,931.31 1,743,250.00 0.00
2018 Q1[48] 379,442.19 829,703.50 2,173,151.75 1,722,890.44 3,743,250.00 0.00
2018 Q2[49] 829,703.50 154,256.50 240,167.48 915,614.48 3,743,250.00 0.00
2018 Q3[50] 154,256.50 77,856.55 1,088,448.44 1,164,848.39 4,743,250.00 0.00
2018 Q4[51] 77,856.55 268,248.08 1,148,213.05 957,821.52 5,743,250.00 0.00
2019 Q1[52] 268,248.08 10,567,864.85 12,144,069.64 12,412,317.72 17,443,250.00 0.00
Overall 22,042.84 10,567,864.85 18,018,435.43 18,072,460.40 17,443,250.00 0.00

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Terry Lierman to Co-Chair Delaney Presidential Campaign". Friends of John Delaney. September 18, 2017. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Delaney Hires John Davis as Senior Advisor". Friends of John Delaney. September 20, 2017. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Delaney, John (July 28, 2017). "Why I'm Running for President". Washington Post. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  4. ^ "RealClearPolitics - Election 2020 - 2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination". Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Pinho, Faith E. (August 14, 2017). "Maryland Democrat John Delaney aims to unseat Trump in 2020 with campaign based on innovation". Washington Times. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d e Tani, Maxwell (August 15, 2017). "'The Democratic Party as a whole is in a really bad spot': Trump's first 2020 challenger is a different kind of Democrat — and he thinks that helps him". Business Insider. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d e Turque, Bill; Portnoy, Jenna (July 28, 2017). "Rep. John Delaney is running for president in 2020". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  8. ^ John Delaney (July 28, 2017). Why I'm Running (YouTube video). Event occurs at 0:01. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  9. ^ Fritze, John (July 27, 2017). "Rep. John Delaney said to be mulling a run for president". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  10. ^ Ostermeier, Eric (August 1, 2017). "John Delaney Breaks Phil Crane's (Or Pete du Pont's?) Record for Early Bird Presidential Bid". SmartPolitics (University of Minnesota). Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  11. ^ Portnoy, Jenna (August 31, 2017). "Emily's List backs Aruna Miller, the only woman running to succeed Rep. John Delaney". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  12. ^ Enten, Harry (July 29, 2017). "The First 2020 Candidate Is ... Hold On, I Had The Name Right Here ... John Delaney". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  13. ^ Steinhauser, Paul (March 9, 2018). "Presidential candidate John Delaney's fine with the fact he's no 'household name'". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  14. ^ a b Steinhauser, Paul (April 29, 2018). "Potential 2020 Democratic contenders flock to N.H., but big names stay away". Concord Monitor. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  15. ^ Lillis, Mike (August 10, 2017). "Maryland lawmaker bets political career on presidential campaign". The Hill. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  16. ^ a b Walcott, Shelley (August 30, 2017). "First official 2020 presidential candidate attends fundraiser in Brentwood". WMUR-TV. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  17. ^ Obradovich, Kathie (August 19, 2017). "Obradovich: First official 2020 candidate brings future-focused agenda". The Des Moines Register. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  18. ^ Lynch, James Q. (August 3, 2017). "Maryland congressman John Delaney bringing 2020 presidential campaign to Iowa State Fair". The Gazette. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  19. ^ a b c d Dovere, Edward-Isaac (August 28, 2017). "The 2020 campaign just kicked off in a New Hampshire strip mall". Politico. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
  20. ^ Henderson, O. Kay (September 24, 2017). "First official 2020 presidential candidate makes second swing through Iowa". Radio Iowa. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  21. ^ a b Green, Alexa (January 18, 2018). "Presidential candidate John Delaney visits Dartmouth". The Dartmouth. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  22. ^ Stevens, Taylor (January 26, 2018). "With nearly 3 years until 2020 election, deep-red Utah gets its first visit from a presidential candidate — a little-known Democrat". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  23. ^ Noble, Jason (January 30, 2018). "John Delaney to air TV ads in Iowa for 2020 presidential bid". Des Moines Register. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  24. ^ Tibbetts, Ed (April 6, 2018). "Presidential hopeful John Delaney targets Trump for trade conflict". Quad City Times. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  25. ^ Delaney, John (May 15, 2018). "Facebook post". John Delaney. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  26. ^ a b Peck, Louis; Metcalf, Andrew (May 4, 2018). "Politics Roundup: Delaney Makes Endorsements in Local Races Plus: District 1 County Council candidate poised to max out public funding; teachers union backs incumbent council candidates". Bethesda Magazine. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  27. ^ Will, George F. (November 16, 2018). "Want to topple Trump? Take John Delaney seriously". Washington Post. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  28. ^ Axelrod, Tal (February 20, 2019). "Delaney: 'We should not put up a candidate who embraces socialism'". TheHill.
  29. ^ Dan Merica; Jeff Zeleny. "John Delaney searches for a middle lane in a crowded field". CNN.
  30. ^ Ben Mathis-Lilley. "Democratic candidates argue about private insurance to CNN's delight". Slate.
  31. ^ Tal Axelrod (July 31, 2019). "Delaney posts best online fundraising day of campaign after primary debate". The Hill. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
  32. ^ a b Delaney, John (n.d.). "Meet Congressman John K. Delaney". Friends of John Delaney. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  33. ^ Delaney, John (May 18, 2018). "Facebook post". John Delaney. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  34. ^ Tani, Maxsell (August 23, 2017). "Trump's first confirmed 2020 Democratic challenger is tied with him in a new poll". Business Insider. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  35. ^ Cantanese, David (August 8, 2017). "The First Democratic Candidate for President in 2020 Is Already Running". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  36. ^ a b Van Westen, Colin (May 15, 2018). "Democrat from Maryland makes presidential campaign stop in Spencer". Spencer Daily Reporter. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  37. ^ "John K. Delaney". FiveThirtyEight. n.d. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  38. ^ Krawchenko, Katiana (September 29, 2017). "One Trump 2020 opponent is racking up presidential campaign funds". CBS News. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  39. ^ "FILING FEC-1186102". Federal Elections Commission. October 13, 2017. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  40. ^ Merica, Dan; Zeleny, Jeff (March 8, 2019). "John Delaney searches for a middle lane in a crowded 2020 Democratic field". CNN. Retrieved March 9, 2019.
  41. ^ Retrieved February 23, 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  42. ^ Federal Elections Commission Retrieved February 23, 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  43. ^ "Financial summary". Federal Election Commission. n.d. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  44. ^ "FILING FEC-1157006". Federal Election Commission. April 13, 2017. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  45. ^ "FILING FEC-1171347". Federal Election Commission. July 14, 2017. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  46. ^ "FILING FEC-1197421". Federal Election Commission. January 15, 2018. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  47. ^ "FILING FEC-1240948". Federal Election Commission. June 28, 2018. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  48. ^ "FILING FEC-1223362". Federal Election Commission. April 15, 2018. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  49. ^ "FEC Form 3P Report of Receipts and Distributions" (PDF). Federal Election Commission. July 15, 2018. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
  50. ^ "FILING FEC-1272578". Federal Election Commission. October 15, 2018. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  51. ^ "FILING FEC-1312312". Federal Election Commission. January 31, 2019. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  52. ^ "FILING FEC-1324749". Federal Election Commission. April 14, 2019. Retrieved April 17, 2019.

External links[edit]

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