John Delaney brings his 2020 presidential campaign back to Iowa City on Sunday

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John Delaney campaign event

MERGE — Sunday, March 31, 5:30 p.m.

John Delaney meet-and-greet

Hamburg Inn No. 2 — Sunday, March 31, 7:45 p.m.

John Delaney — courtesy of the Delaney for President campaign.

John Delaney has already set a few records as presidental candidate. The former Maryland congressman was the first Democrat to file the paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), officially declaring his candidacy on Aug. 1, 2017, which “shattered the mark for the earliest bid in the modern primary era by a non-fringe [non-incumbent] candidate,” according to Smart Politics.

Since filing, Delaney has spent a lot of time in Iowa, which has allowed him to become the first, and so far only, presidential candidate to visit all 99 counties in the state.

Still, very few Iowans know who Delaney is. He’s barely a presence in statewide polls. Even when his numbers aren’t fractions of one percent, they are still small enough to fall within the polls’ margin of error. In nationwide polls, he’s not even doing that well. But he’s still maintaining a busy campaigning schedule in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Delaney has made the need to rise above political divisions — encouraging bipartisanship and civility — a central message of his campaign since the beginning. “Our government is hamstrung by excessive partisanship,” Delaney wrote in the Washington Post when he announced his candidacy.

His dedication to bipartisanship was also the theme of the commercial he began airing in Iowa in February 2018 — establishing another record as the first 2020 candidate to run a campaign commercial.

But at least one of Delaney’s more recent policy position shows a willingness to be confrontational as well. On Mar. 26, he released a plan to lower prescription drug prices through a dramatic use of the federal government’s power to tax.

According to a campaign press release, Delaney would seek to impose “a 100% excise tax on the difference between the cost charged in the United States and the average cost in the developed world. For example, if a drug costs $100 in the United States, but only an average of $40 in similar developed nations, the pharmaceutical company would owe a tax equal to the difference of $60. The point of this tax is to lower costs in the US and raise them in other parts of the world.”

It’s exceedingly unlikely that congressional Republicans would be willing to support such a tax, even if a President Delaney were to appeal to them in the spirit of bipartisanship.

Iowa Citians interested in learning more about Delaney will have two opportunities to speak with the candidate on Sunday, March 31. The candidate will be speak and taking question during an hour-long event starting at 5:30 p.m. at MERGE co-working space on the Ped Mall. Afterward, there will be an informal meet-and-greet at Hamburg Inn No. 2, starting at 7:45 p.m.

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Both events are open to all, and tickets are not required.

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