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.
From the beginning, the Delaney campaign struggled to garner widespread support. Polling repeatedly showed him earning less than 1% of the vote and painted a grim picture of his ability to inspire voters in today’s Democratic Party.
Delaney considered himself a “practical” candidate who, unlike some of his peers, refused to commit to a bevy of progressive proposals. He criticized Democrats who put forth ideas like “Medicare for All” and free college, calling them “pie-in-the-sky” proposals and chastising his opponents for advocating policies he deemed unrealistic.
Delaney, who co-founded a health care company in 1993 and later sold it for millions of dollars, ran for president as a self-proclaimed “progressive businessman.”
“We need to encourage a more just and inclusive form of capitalism and reduce barriers to small-business formation, start-ups, job creation, investment and growth,” he wrote in his initial campaign announcement.
Delaney entered the presidential race without much name recognition, despite earning endorsements from former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ahead of his successful congressional race in 2012.
Liza Hearon contributed reporting.