Just six months into Donald Trump’s presidency, challengers are beginning to line up for 2020.
On Friday, Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) became the first Democrat to formally declare his candidacy for the next presidential election.
The early bid by the congressman beats even Trump to the punch. Trump has filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission that officially qualifies him as a 2020 candidate, but said the filing “does not constitute a formal announcement of my candidacy for the 2020 election.” Trump held a 2020 re-election fundraiser last month at his Washington hotel.
Delaney, in a statement to the media on Friday, made a clear appeal to his blue-collar roots, positioning himself as centrist progressive who believes he can unify a fractured Democratic Party, and work with Republicans.
“In the end, we won’t win by just attacking Trump, we’ll win as a party – and as a nation – when we focus on the facts and take on the tough issues that confront us,” Delaney said, “beginning with mastering the challenge of continued and accelerated innovation.”
Delaney was first elected to Congress in 2012. He wrote in an op-ed published Friday in The Washington Post that he will not seek re-election to the House of Representatives during his years-long bid for the presidency.
“No games, no cat-and-mouse, no backup plan at the 11th hour if a focus group goes badly,” he wrote.
America Rising, a Republican Super PAC and opposition research group, greeted the announcement with a jab at Delaney’s national profile:
Delaney plans to make an on-camera announcement on Saturday, which he’ll livestream via Facebook from his childhood home in New Jersey.