John Delaney Plans Early Investment In Iowa To Help Down-Ballot Democrats

John Delaney isn’t exactly a household name among Iowa Democratic activists. Not yet, anyway. The Maryland congressman who became the first official 2020 presidential candidate last month is planning on making a significant early investment in the lead-off caucus state. That begins with placing staffers as soon as next month, with the hope of having an office up and running in Iowa by the end of September. Delaney himself plans on traveling to Iowa once or twice a month between now and January of 2019, at which point he’ll do a large kick-off after the midterms.

Rather than forming an exploratory committee, Delaney jumped in last month with an official campaign committee.

“To win the race you’ve got to be in the race … Effectively what we’re going to do in the next 16 months is all the things other people are probably doing, we’re just being honest about it,” Delaney told Starting Line in an interview last week. “Which I feel is liberating.”

Delaney plans on running a robust operation in Iowa early on, placing multiple staffers here before even the end of 2017. Most of those will be tasked with helping local Iowa Democratic campaigns, either through the IDP’s coordinated campaign or individual candidates. This would mirror what other presidential hopefuls have done in past cycles – send staffers to help out in the midterm year before their run in order to gain Iowa experience and build up friendships in advance of the Iowa Caucus. Martin O’Malley did that in the 2014 cycle and Evan Bayh tried it in 2006. It’s part of the reason Iowa Democrats fight so hard to keep the caucus first – it helps bring in national support to their down-ballot candidates from time to time.

Last week’s trip to Iowa served as an introductory visit for Delaney and to help him figure out, as he described it, which questions he should even be asking at this early stage. His pitch in return to key activists is that he’ll have the funding and message to go the distance.

“We will have the resources to run a campaign,” Delaney said. “What I’m telling people politically is if you want to work with someone who’s going to be in this til the end, if you want to work with someone who cares about the stuff I’m talking about, and if you want to work with someone who will stay true to that message – and I think that authenticity is the most important thing – then I’m the person.”

Seeing the difficulty that some Republican senators who ran for president in 2016 had, Delaney plans on not running for reelection in 2018. Come 2019, he’ll be able to commit his entire time to his presidential campaign.

For more on Delaney’s candidacy, read our earlier story.


by Pat Rynard
Posted 8/23/17

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