Morning Digest: John Delaney gives up Maryland House seat to play Don Quixote in Iowa till 2020

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, and David Beard.

MD-06, MD-Gov: Ah, just what Democrats have been clamoring for: a rich moderate former banker who likes to punch at the left is running for president! All the luck in the world to Rep. John Delaney. Later, bro.

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Anyhow, Delaney’s decision to leave Maryland politics behind for the national scene impacts two elections next year. One is the race for governor, which he’d been contemplating for some time. With Delaney gone, other candidates either in the contest or considering it now no longer have to worry that he might flood the race with his own money (estimated net worth: $215 million).

Beyond that, though, Delaney doesn’t have much of a base or

a profile outside of his congressional district, which includes a large portion of Montgomery County in the D.C. suburbs, as well as some heavily Republican territory in the ancestrally red northwest corner of the state. Based on those considerations alone, he probably wasn’t keeping anyone out of the primary for the right to take on GOP Gov. Larry Hogan.

Rather, it’s that House seat where Delaney’s departure will be more acutely felt. Maryland was one of just a handful of states where Democrats controlled the redistricting process ahead of the 2012 elections, and lawmakers redrew the GOP-held 6th District to make it more amenable to a Democratic candidate—specifically Rob Garagiola, the state Senate majority leader at the time. The old 6th had gone 58-40 for John McCain in 2008, but the current version voted 56-42 for Barack Obama that year.

In a surprise, though, Delaney, then a political newcomer, used his personal wealth and an endorsement from Bill Clinton to crush Garagiola 54-29 in the primary. Delaney went on to unseat longtime Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett by a wide 59-38 margin, making his hold on this district look secure. Looks, however, proved deceiving, as Delaney nearly got a huge shock the following cycle, beating back an unheralded GOP opponent by just a single point in 2014.

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