CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Former Maryland Congressman John Delaney ended his longshot bid for the Democratic presidential nomination Friday, just three days before the Iowa caucuses.
“It has been a privilege to campaign for the Democratic nomination for president, but it is clear that God has a different purpose for me at this moment in time,” Delaney said in a statement announcing his decision.
lt has been a privilege to campaign for the Democratic nomination for President, but it is clear that God has a different purpose for me at this moment in time. Read my full statement here: 1/19https://t.co/DWaQWegVzJ
— John Delaney 🇺🇸 (@JohnDelaney) January 31, 2020
Delaney was the first major candidate to jump into what became a crowded Democratic contest that has developed a reputation for its turbulence.
The former U.S. representative represented a moderate pragmatism that failed to break through with voters in a party that has shifted increasingly left over the course of a primary led by socialist progressives.
In his announcement dropping out of the race, Delaney reiterated his calls that were soundly rejected on the campaign trail to refrain from making impossible promises to voters such as free health care, free college, and as Delaney often described it, “free everything.”
“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.
Delaney’s exit from the race illustrates a deep distaste among Democratic voters to pursue ideas not rooted in the mass redistribution of wealth as the leading candidates in the primary have campaigned on the massive expansion of the welfare state.
The former moderate congressman often clashed with the left-wing progressives throughout the race, most prominently with Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
In the July Democratic debate, the last debate Delaney qualified for, he went after Warren and Sanders for promising what Delany called fairytale solutions to health care such as single-payer.
“Folks, we have a choice,” Delaney declared in his opening remarks. “We can go down the road that Senator Sanders and Senator Warren want to take us, with bad policies like Medicare for all, free everything, and impossible promises that will turn off independent voters and get Trump reelected… or we can nominate someone with new ideas.”
Delaney’s pleas for the party to reject its leftward lurch were met with distain for moderation in the primary and a stronger embrace of socialist proposals.
Delaney was garnering scant support in polls if any at all since his last debate performance in July.
Last summer, Delaney’s staffers even reportedly urged the candidate to drop out of the race after what was expected to be his final appearance on the debate stage, according to Axios. Delaney however, denied the reports.