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John Delaney, who started running for president in 2017, drops out of the 2020 race


John Delaney — courtesy of the Delaney for President campaign.

John Delaney announced on Friday morning he’s dropping out of the 2020 presidential race. After campaigning for 917 days, visiting all 99 counties in Iowa and airing the first 2020 campaign commercial in Iowa, Delaney was still facing the sort of questions no candidate wants asked just 72 hours before caucus day — questions like, “Who are you?” and “What are you running for?”

Speaking on CNN, Delaney said he realized he didn’t have enough support to be a viable candidate in the caucus, but he was worried the possibility of him being president was still attractive enough to pull voters away “from other more moderate candidates, and I just don’t want to do that.”

Delaney probably didn’t need to worry. In the most recent Iowa Poll, his support was at zero percent.

“This race was never about me, but about ideas and doing what’s right for our nation,” Delaney wrote in a farewell message to his supporters on his campaign site. Delaney’s ideas are contained in his 2018 book, The Right Answer.

Publisher’s Marketplace was one of the few publications that reviewed Delaney’s book. According to its review, the book is “a bland mix of largely uncontroversial points that goes out of its way, sometimes to the point of inaccuracy, to avoid offending anyone.”

The former Maryland congressman declared his candidacy in a Washington Post op-ed on July 28, 2017, which “shattered the mark for the earliest bid in the modern primary era by a non-fringe candidate,” according to Smart Politics.

Delaney’s campaign was almost entirely self-financed. The candidate could easily afford it. In 2018, Delaney’s final year in the House of Representatives, Roll Call listed him as the sixth wealthiest member of Congress. Using financial disclosure documents, the paper estimated Delaney’s net worth at $92.6 million.

To the extent Delaney will be remembered as a presidential candidate, it will probably be for inspiring Sen. Elizabeth Warren to say something memorable during the July 30, 2019 Democratic candidates debate.

“You know, I don’t understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for,” Warren said, after listening to Delaney. “I don’t get it.”

The John Delaney campaign blimp was turned away at the DoubleTree in Cedar Rapids, June 9, 2019 — Zak Neumann/Little Village

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