Guy Named John Delaney Ends Campaign Nobody Knew About

This. Changes. Everything.

A guy who had no business running for President is no longer doing so:

Former Maryland congressman and businessman John Delaney announced Friday he is suspending his presidential campaign.
Delaney said in a statement that internal analyses showed his support wasn’t enough to meet the 15% viability threshold needed in Iowa caucus precincts, but it was strong enough to take away from other like-minded Democratic candidates.

Delaney said in a CNN interview that he wasn’t endorsing anyone, but urged his supporters to vote for “other moderate candidates,” such as former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), or Pete Buttigieg, the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor.

Delaney was among the earliest to launch a campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, declaring his candidacy in 2017. The former representative of Maryland’s 6th District was one of a group of candidates who did not qualify for the Sept. 12 Democratic debate.

It’s rather churlish to kick a man while he’s down. Delaney, after all, was a man in the arena whereas I’m a mere critic.

Still, Delaney’s campaign was especially Quixotic.

He was a mere US Representative, which is not exactly a traditional path to the White House. Indeed, James Garfield was both the first and last to be elected President directly from the House. And that was decades before the invention of radio.

And Delaney wasn’t an especially well-known Congressman. Indeed, I follow the news rather closely and can’t recollect having heard of him before he threw his hat into the ring.

Granting that he entered the race before the field was known, it was obvious that the Democrats would have an ample supply of candidates given that the party didn’t have a sitting President. There was simply no way an unknown Congressman was going to beat out a bevy of Senators, Governors, and a former Vice President.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    Good Lord, what an unfortunate photograph. He looks like a goofball.

    2
  2. Scott says:

    A guy who had no business running for President is no longer doing so

    Yes, John Delaney went nowhere but he was a Congressman and a successful businessman. He certainly had more qualifications that many career politicians. So I think you are unnecessarily harsh in judgment.

    That being said, we have many people who think they should be President. Heck, our President thinks he should be President and he wasn’t qualified. Yet, here we are.

    Like you, I am more inclined to view Governors as more qualified but for some reason they don’t get traction. Instead, we get people who are good at failing upwards.

    2
  3. James Joyner says:

    @Scott: Yeah, that’s the problem with running for President: it puts you in comparison with giants. Delaney’s accomplishments are indeed quite impressive. But not by Presidential standards.

    Until quite recently, Americans preferred Governors and Vice Presidents. Until Obama, every President elected in my lifetime—Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush—had been one or the other. Overall, 17 Presidents have been governors.

    There was an episode of the NYT Daily podcast some time back making the case that our campaign finance laws have recently made it much easier for Senators and much harder for Governors. The former can funnel millions of dollars from their campaign warchests into a Presidential run; the latter have to start from scratch.

    2
  4. Neil Hudelson says:

    that internal analyses showed his support wasn’t enough to meet the 15% viability threshold needed in Iowa caucus precincts

    Dear lord, someone was paid to ‘analyze’ polls showing 0% support and conclude that 0%<15%.

    6
  5. Scott says:

    @James Joyner:

    Also, Senators don’t really have to do their jobs and so have more time to campaign. The record of my own Senator, Ted Cruz, is quite thin in actual accomplishments but thinks he should be President.

    3
  6. Franklin says:

    @CSK: I’m just as follically-challenged as poor Mr. Delaney, and he’s doing himself no favors with that expression. But you know nobody who appears bald (careful wording since Trump is probably a natural baldy) is ever going to get elected President again. As it is, there were only a few bald Presidents, mostly in early American history (Ike’s opponent Adlai had even *less* hair, and Ford wasn’t *elected*.)

  7. Gustopher says:

    There was simply no way an unknown Congressman was going to beat out a bevy of Senators, Governors, and a former Vice President.

    There’s also simply no way that the boy Mayor of a small city in Indiana was going to hold his own against the best known members of the Democratic Party…

    2
  8. Gustopher says:

    @Franklin: If we get rid of the citizen requirement, I would offer you Sir Patrick Stewart, beloved bald man.

  9. James Joyner says:

    @Gustopher: T

    here’s also simply no way that the boy Mayor of a small city in Indiana was going to hold his own against the best known members of the Democratic Party…

    Fair enough—although he’s currently in low single digits in the national polling, lagging behind Mike Bloomberg, who just joined the race and hasn’t been in a single debate. But he’s outlasted a bevy of governors and senators, many of whom we’d heard of before the campaign.

    1
  10. An Interested Party says:

    The saddest part of all of this is that John Delaney is much more qualified than Trump and would also do a much better job as president…granted, being compared to the trash in the White House is an extremely low bar, but still…

  11. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Complete hubris. The man should have stayed in his (quite safe) House seat, which he had to give up to take on this quixotic exercise in silliness which was never, ever going to get off of the ground. Now he has nothing.