Born on April 16, 1963, John Delaney was raised in eastern New Jersey to a working-class family. His father was an electrician with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and worked tenaciously to support Delaney and his sister throughout their childhood. This situation translated directly into Delaney’s contemporary campaign, which emphasizes the need for employment opportunities amongst the middle and lower classes. Despite his family’s financial constraints, Delaney was accepted and ultimately able to attend Columbia University with the help of his father’s labor union, IBEW Local 164. In college, Delaney was initially set to be Pre-Med; however, by the time he finished graduate school at Georgetown University, Delaney’s interests had gravitated towards the business world. He currently holds a Bachelor of Science (BS) from Columbia and a Juris Doctor (JS) from Georgetown. He is of Irish and English ancestry.
Delaney’s career as an entrepreneur is arguably one of the most successful and accomplished for a U.S. politician. With the assistance of his business partners, Delaney managed to launch two companies called Health Care Financial Partners and CapitalSource; both of which are now traded publicly on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), making Delaney the once youngest CEO on the NYSE. The first company, Health Care Financial Partners, was started in 1993 and worked to allocate loans to smaller-sized health care providers that were perpetually ignored by banks and credit unions. Health Care Financial Partners was later absorbed by the similar corporation Heller Financial in 1999. Delaney’s second company, CapitalSource, was a significant contributor to his success as a businessman. The company lent fiscal resources to small businesses, and due to its commercial and social success, was awarded the Bank Enterprise Award through a U.S. Treasury Fund under President Barack Obama. Washington Magazine listed CapitalSource in its compilation of “Great Places to Work” in the 2005 issue for its merits in exceptional workplace culture. Both companies additionally tie into Delaney’s current bid for president, as he emphasizes the need for more job opportunities in his platform.
The threshold for Delaney’s political career started in 2012 when he was elected to represent the 6th Congressional district of Maryland for the U.S. House of Representatives; beating out the former Republican incumbent, Roscoe Bartlett, by a margin of 21 points (59% to 38%). It was noted the district used to be predominantly conservative, but after having undergone major “reconfiguration” in the 2000s, the leaning gravitated to more liberal notions and allowed Delaney to win. He went on to win not only a second term in 2014 but a third term as well when he defeated Republican nominee Amie Hoeber by 56% to 40%. However, in 2018, Delaney elected not to run for Congress a fourth time so as to work on his presidential campaign which was announced the previous year, instead allowing Democrat David Trone to succeed him.
Voting Record and Major Bills:
H.R. 7144: Veteran Debt Fairness Act of 2018
H.R. 7103: Suicide Analytics Prevention Act of 2018
H.R. 6590: CAMRA Act
H.R. 6449: Protect Election Systems from Foreign Control Act
H.R. 5220: Don’t Tax Higher Education Act
H.R. 3466: Early Learning Act of 2017
Perhaps one of Delaney’s most unique aspects as a candidate is the fact that his campaign was announced in July of 2017, one of the earliest announcements for presidential campaigns in U.S. history. The initial campaign focused on the inherent significance of swing states, prompting Delaney to begin the preliminary stages of his campaign in states such as New Hampshire, South Carolina, and specifically Iowa where he has since appeared in all 99 counties. In terms of funding, Delaney emphasizes his campaign’s rejection of all Political Action Committees (PACs) money and instead allocates his money from grassroots funding.
In terms of political orientation, Delaney has repeatedly asserted the fact that he is a Democrat, despite the general populace viewing his past actions as a more centrist approach. Delaney’s general philosophy regarding his platform is to “Focus on the Future,” which is also his campaign slogan. He furtively asserts that the future is shifting in a more technologically advanced world and that more job opportunities and the nation’s foreign policy must shift with society. The following are Delaney’s specific envisions for America’s current issues (via PBS):
Healthcare: Create a universal healthcare program for those under 65 years of age, up until the individual could utilize Medicare.
Immigration: Dramatically reform the current immigration approach, with a comprehensive path to gaining citizenship, stricter border security, and not allowing the Trump administration’s use of the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals program; labeling it as “cruel and mean-spirited.”
Infrastructure: Increase the corporate tax from 21% to 23% as a means of generating investments in infrastructural reforms, while strongly advocating for a bipartisan legislature in his first 100 days of office (this vow is now considered a staple of his campaign).
Social Justice: Bolster legislature that provides funding for organizations like Planned Parenthood, very pro-choice and pro-LGBTQ+ rights.
Foreign Policy: Building global alliances so as to place more pressure on open markets in China, and avidly supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership as he did in Congress. Supports the withdrawal of U.S. foreign intervention in Yemen and Syria.
While in Congress, the majority of legislature Delaney sponsored was concerned with veteran affairs, health care, and infrastructure improvements. He advocated strongly to make election day a federal holiday in the U.S. as well as to impose stricter rules on gerrymandering in the electoral process. His slogan, “Focus on the Future,” refers to the changing of technology and how society must respond to it, a concept further emphasized by his sponsoring of infrastructural improvement acts during the 2000s.
I believe in the politics of progress, a radical notion that the men and women privileged to serve the American people should work together, putting the needs of our nation ahead of partisan concerns & personal triumphs, collaborating to make real progress against our challenges.
— John Delaney (@JohnDelaney) April 5, 2019
Popularity and Electability:
Delaney’s background of blue-collar roots and integrity of the hardworking American spirit has already begun to resonate with voters, who appreciate the fact that Delaney has had success as both an entrepreneur and politician. Washington Post described him as being “the smartest presidential candidate you’ve never heard of” in an interview where Delaney discussed his eclectic tax policies along with transatlantic policies and employment.
If elected, Delaney would be the second Catholic president to serve, and thus far four U.S. House of Representatives members have endorsed him; Brad Ashford from Nebraska, Richard Hanna from New York, his Maryland successor David Trone, and finally Juan Vargas from California.
An article on POLITICO criticized John Delaney’s policy views as not aligning with the party he claims to be a part of, citing that his faith in the Trans-Pacific Partnership undermines what Democrats stand for. This argument directly translates to the primary critique Delaney has received thus far, which asserts his beliefs do not align with a single party and make it impossible for him to truly distinguish policies. He has been labeled as a centrist despite identifying on numerous occasions as a Democrat; additionally, a number of his bipartisan legislatures from Congress are cosponsored by Republican figures. According to POLITICO, this further calls into question his political angle.
Delaney’s self-employment as an entrepreneur also juxtaposes starkly with his statement that, “capitalism is unchecked…[and] is not the best solution for this country.” A writer at Salon analyzed this as being counterintuitive. Delaney additionally sponsored a bill to fast-track the dissolve of Social Security, and due to his wealthy stature from his years of business voters occasionally assume he does not have the middle and lower classes’ interests at heart.
Photo by John Delaney for President Campaign