Jacquelyn Martin / AP
Maryland Rep. John Delaney, the first Democrat to announce a presidential bid against Donald Trump, is now running two TV ads in the early-voting state of Iowa.
Delaney, a three-term congressman and former financial services executive, launched his presidential campaign last July in a Washington Post op-ed, more than a year and a half earlier than candidates typically jump in the race to become their party's nominee. This weekend, he also became the first candidate to buy airtime.
The 54-year-old candidate is running two ads for four weeks across Iowa — part of a $1 million campaign, according to Delaney spokesman Will McDonald.
The first ad began Sunday, timed to the Super Bowl, as reported in the Des Moines Register. The second, titled “Early,” will begin airing Monday on network and cable in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, McDonald said. “How do we bring our country together?” Delaney asks in the ad. “How do we begin to heal a fractured nation?”
“The work starts now.”
The ads were made by the firm Siegel Strategies, according to McDonald.
Both spots pitch Delaney to Iowa voters as a pragmatic, no-gimmicks lawmaker willing to work across the aisle. It’s a message seen more often in a general election than a Democratic primary — a signal that the little-known Delaney will not try to compete with left-leaning candidates for the progressive mantle. He has shied at times from labels like “moderate” and “centrist,” but described himself as a pro-business candidate who understands both the need for regulation and the value of the free market.
Delaney made his sixth trip to Iowa over Super Bowl weekend. He has said he plans to hold up to 500 events there before January 2019. His presidential campaign is among the earliest in the history of the Iowa caucuses. He plans to finish serving his third term in Congress before stepping aside after the 2018 election to focus on his presidential campaign — one he is willing and able to fund himself. (Delaney's estimated net worth stands at more than $91 million.)
“No games, no cat-and-mouse, no backup plan at the 11th hour if a focus group goes badly,” he wrote in his 2017 Washington Post op-ed. “My approach goes beyond party and partisanship; I am first and foremost an American.”