Delaney ends presidential campaign, calls on candidates to stop 'unrealistic and divisive promises'

The moderate former congressman said that Warren and Sanders would have a tougher time beating Trump.
Image: John Delaney
John Delaney speaks at "We The People 2020: Protecting Our Democracy After Citizens United," at Curate, on Jan. 19, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa.Andrew Harnik / AP file

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By Lauren Egan

WASHINGTON — John Delaney, a wealthy businessman and former Maryland congressman, announced on Friday that he is ending his presidential campaign, just three days before the Iowa caucuses.

In a statement, his campaign said that his decision "is informed by internal analyses indicating John's support is not sufficient to meet the 15% viability in a material number of caucus precincts, but sufficient enough to cause other moderate candidates to not to make the viability threshold, especially in rural areas where John has campaigned harder than anyone."

Delaney, a moderate Democrat, said on CNN Friday morning that he did not want to take away votes from other moderate candidates, such as former Vice President Joe Biden, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

"I don't think that's productive," he said.

Although Delaney said he did not plan to endorse a candidate at this time, he raised concerns over nominating a more progressive candidate, such as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders or Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

"They have a tougher campaign against Donald Trump," Delaney said on CNN of Sanders and Warren, cautioning that their support for Medicare for All "takes health care away from people and forces them on a government plan and I think that's a hard way to win an election."

"Let's stop the nonsense of unrealistic and divisive campaign promises and be the party the American people need — a decent, unifying, future-focused and common-sense party," Delaney said in a statement.

Delaney was the first candidate to enter the Democratic primary in July 2017, just six months into President Donald Trump's first term. By September 2019, Delaney spent $24.4 million of his own money on his campaign.

Despite his head start in the race, Delaney failed to catch on and has not qualified for debates since last summer. Delaney had initially committed to staying in the race through the Iowa caucuses.