Former Maryland congressman and Iowa State Fair slide rider John Delaney announced Friday he is dropping out of the 2020 Democratic primary.
"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. "I leave this race with a profound sense of gratitude to the voters who shared with me their hopes and concerns for our magnificent country."
Delaney failed to draw statistically significant support in primary polling but made headlines for an aggressive debate performance, in which he clashed with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.). "Democrats win when we run on real solutions, not impossible promises," Delaney said.
Warren responded, "I don't understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can't do and shouldn't fight for."
Delaney failed to qualify for any subsequent debates, as his poll numbers hovered around zero. He criticized the Democratic National Committee for its benchmarks for candidates to qualify for debates, arguing his campaign was focused on the "battle of ideas."
Delaney presented his campaign as a moderate alternative to the "socialism in a pure form" he said other Democrats were lurching toward.
"If the party starts embracing kind of, if you will, socialism in a pure form, I think that's a really big mistake. Because it's not good policy, and it's definitely not good politics," he told CNN.
Delaney self-financed much of his presidential campaign and announced a creative approach to qualifying for the donor threshold for Democratic debates: He promised to donate money to charity for every donor he gained. He was also the first candidate to declare for the Democratic nomination.
A photo of Delaney appearing stone-faced on a slide at the 2018 Iowa State Fair went viral after his second debate performance, raising questions as to whether the former congressman was having any fun.
Delaney has powerful meme energy pic.twitter.com/rxsM3mx5eN
— Will Sommer (@willsommer) June 27, 2019