Maryland Rep. John Delaney on Friday became the first Democrat to announce he would run for president in 2020.
The 54-year-old three-term congressman revealed his plans in a Washington Post op-ed. He won’t run for re-election and is bypassing a run for Maryland governor in 2018.
He enters the race an extreme longshot — with no national profile among Democrats and a moderate record that appears out of sync with the party’s progressive primary electorate.
Delaney is a self-made businessman who has launched two companies and could pour millions of dollars of his own money into the campaign.
In Congress, his positions have put him at odds with many Democratic primary voters, including his support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. He previously pushed minimum wage hikes, but for amounts short of the $15 an hour that progressives have sought (and Delaney now says he backs). He has proposed allowing businesses to repatriate money earned overseas without paying taxes in exchange for buying infrastructure bonds.
By beating other candidates into the race by as much as two years, Delaney could hope to surpass the small roles played by former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee and former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb in the 2016 Democratic race.
“Our government is hamstrung by excessive partisanship. We are letting critical opportunities to improve the country pass us by. And we are not even talking about the most important thing: the future,” Delaney wrote Friday.
“The victims of this leadership failure are the good people we are sworn to serve, and we are leaving our country ill-prepared for dramatic changes ahead. The current administration is making us less prosperous and less secure. I’m running because I have an original approach to governing and economic policy that can put us on a different course.”