News & Politics

Some Guy Named John Delaney Is Running for President. Staffers Say It's Time to Quit.

Rep. John Delaney, D-Md (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Former Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) has been running for president for almost exactly two years, and he’s still between zero and one percent in the polls. You likely haven’t heard of him. Some inside sources told Axios that Delaney’s staff staged an intervention, trying to get the former congressman to drop out by August. Delaney insisted the meeting never happened.

“On July 9, John Delaney’s senior team sat him down and told him to drop out of the presidential race by mid-August, according to three sources close to the campaign,” Axios’s Alexi McCammond reported.

“I think a lot of people who did leave thought, ‘You gotta eat. You need a paycheck.’ So that was a big part of it,” a former staffer reportedly said. Another said Delaney flopped in the first debate last month. “There was no real breakout moment, which is what everyone in leadership had been hoping for.”

Sources said the former congressman is not spending enough to be competitive, and that the money he has spent hasn’t moved the needle for him — which is not surprising.

Other sources said Delaney hasn’t been consistent in his policy positions — a must for any potential dark-horse candidate in a crowded field.

This former congressman seems to have no definition and no compelling reason to run for president. He may be the most moderate Democrat in the race, but that doesn’t seem like a winning strategy — especially for a white male in an intersectional primary. I wish more Democrats were like him, but it seems he has no chance.

Sources suggested Delaney would be better positioned to run for governor or angle for a cabinet position later on. The sources insisted they “genuinely” liked the guy, but said he’s just “not made for the moment.”

Delaney slammed the Axios report as “incorrect.”

“No one on my team asked me to drop out of the race and I have no plans to drop out of the race,” he wrote. Specifically, the candidate faulted Axios for allegedly misreporting his campaign spending. McCammond reported that Delaney has spent $19 million. “In addition, anyone who spent any time actually reading the FEC reports would see clearly that we did not spend $19 million on the campaign — we spent $9 million since we launched my Presidential campaign. Ms. McCammond is including a large interparty transfer in her calculations. This easy to confirm error puts the accuracy of the whole story in perspective.”

McCammond defended her reporting, noting that a source said Delaney “put an unspecified amount of his own money into the campaign right before the Q2 deadline and then took it out the next day” — a potential explanation for the “interparty transfer.”

According to FEC filings, the campaign paid a $9 million loan to the candidate himself. Roughly half of his total spending involved relating a loan to his own campaign. Besides this, he spent over $9.7 million on travel, day-to-day operations, media, personnel, and other costs over the same time.

Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.