By Susan Heavey
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The first Democrat to formally declare a run for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination, former U.S. Representative John Delaney, on Friday said he was dropping out of the crowded race in order to make room for more moderate candidates.
Delaney, a former business executive from Maryland, self-funded much of his campaign but has seen almost zero support in polls as Democrats close in on the first primary contest in Iowa on Monday.
His campaign’ analysis found that while he would not meet the threshold for support needed, it was “sufficient enough to cause other moderate candidates to not to make the viability threshold, especially in rural areas.”
Delaney, 56, initially declared his candidacy in July 2017, becoming the first Democrat to publicly challenge Trump, who is seeking re-election in November under the cloud of impeachment.
In a statement, Delaney said he backed the big ideas of the Democratic party’s progressives but noted the need for bipartisan, pragmatic solutions to bring together a deeply-divided nation.
“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,” he said, vowing to back the party’s eventual nominee.
“Step one is to beat Donald Trump and restore decency to the Office of the President.”
(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Mohammad Zargham, Editing by William Maclean and Nick Zieminski)