MASON CITY | When U.S. Rep. John Delaney of Maryland announced his candidacy for president in July, it is believed he became the earliest formal candidate in U.S. history.
The three-term Democrat brought his fledgling campaign to Mason City Monday, speaking to about 20 party faithful at the Village Court restaurant.
Trivia buffs should note that Delaney’s candidacy for the 2020 presidential nomination came 1,194 days before the next election and 262 days after the last election. In 1986, former Delaware Gov. Pierre DuPont announced for the 1988 Republican nomination 784 days before the election, making him a distant second from Delaney, according to historians.
Delaney acknowledged his early start in speaking to his Mason City audience. He said he wanted to get ahead of the game for name recognition.
“Too early? Maybe not. This is Iowa after all,” he joked, referring to Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses.
Regarding today’s politics. Delaney said “Divisiveness in the United States has put us in a really, really tough spot. President Trump is the punctuation point of the problem.
DES MOINES — Among the scores of livestock, amusement park rides, food on a stick and cows made of butter, there is another staple of the Iowa State Fair:
“Political debate has become so poisonous, it has even divided families,” said Delaney. “It has prevented us from doing anything. And the cost of doing nothing is not nothing.”
He said as a country, and in Congress, people have to start talking about things they agree on and work from there.
“We have to get back to being a country where opportunity counts more than your birthright, said Delaney.
He said the central question facing the country is: How do we restore functionality and civility?
“Let’s not allow ourselves to be divided on something we all agree on, such as everyone is entitled to health insurance,” said Delaney.
He said two things that are destroying American democracy are gerrymandering – redistricting to benefit one political party over another; and big money in politics that can control elections.
Delaney fielded many questions from the audience on topics such as health care, tax reform, and climate change.
He said 98 percent of scientists say climate change is real. “If you went to 98 doctors who told you your child was sick, wouldn’t you think it was time to do something about it?” he asked.
The Mason City stop was one of five Monday in Iowa. He has made 25 appearances in 14 counties in Iowa since his campaign began.