The Quad-Cities will see its first declared presidential candidate for 2020 on Saturday, when U.S. Rep. John Delaney of Maryland makes a campaign stop in Davenport.
Delaney, a Democrat, announced this summer that he would run for the presidency, an unusually early declaration but one that's been followed up by a number of visits to Iowa, which holds the first-in-the-nation precinct caucuses.
His two-day, six-stop visit this weekend will be his fifth trip to the state.
In an interview Wednesday, the congressman said he's pleased with the reception he's received so far and that, even with the 2018 elections to come first, he finds people are ready to talk about 2020.
"I think that Democrats in Iowa that I'm talking to are quite excited to engage in the conversation about the next chapter, because at this point very few of them are willing to give the current president much of a chance — rightfully so," he said.
Delaney will hold a meet-and-greet with Scott County Democrats at 9 a.m. Saturday at Hickory Gardens Restaurant, 3311 Hickory Grove Road.
Elected in 2012, Delaney represents a district that includes some Washington, D.C., suburbs, as well as a stretch of rural western Maryland. He says that he sees the "villain" in today's political culture as excessive partisanship. Delaney has blanched at the idea that he's a centrist even though he says he does things some view as centrist.
"I do think I'm a different type of Democrat in that I seek solutions that are very consistent with progressive goals, but I believe in the power of the free markets. I believe in the power of the private economy. I believe that the only way you do things in this country that endure is on a bipartisan basis," he said.
Delaney shies away from a single payer health care system but wants Americans to be able to get Medicare at age 55. He also voted to give President Obama fast track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which drew significant opposition in the 2016 Democratic primary. Both Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came out against it.
Delaney said the problem with the U.S. participation in the global economy, which he said has had a net benefit, was large parts of the country got left behind and "government failed to do the basic things we should have done to help those communities through this painful transition." He blamed "hyper-partisanship" for that.
Delaney comes from a business background, having founded two companies. One of them, CapitalSource was a business lender. He is one of the wealthiest men in Congress, according to the Washington Post. But his biography notes that his father was a union electrician and he went to college on scholarships from the union.
Delaney may be the first to declare, but the potential 2020 field is large. Already some Democrats thought to be interested in running for president have made trips to Iowa.
Scott County Democratic Chair Thom Hart said Wednesday that it will be interesting to see how many people show up Saturday to talk about the 2020 campaign. But he adds the party needs to be more than just opposed to the president and has to focus its message.
"Listening to people’s ideas will help with that," he said.
In addition to the Davenport stop, Delaney will be at Elly's Tea & Coffee, 208 W. 2nd St., #8, in Muscatine, at 11 a.m. Other stops he'll be making over the weekend will be in Fort Madison, Ottumwa, Pella and Ankeny.