Ode to John Delaney, the Most Jacked Man to Ever Seek the Presidency - Rolling Stone
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Fare Thee Well, John Delaney

The former congressman and current deadlifter has closed the book on a campaign that spanned 918 days

DES MOINES, IA - NOVEMBER 01: Democratic presidential candidate and former Rep. John Delaney  arrives during The Iowa Democratic Party Liberty & Justice Celebration on November 1, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa. Fourteen presidential are expected to speak at the event addressing over 12,000 people. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

We'll miss you, John Delaney.

Getty Images

Fare thee well, John Delaney.

On the morning of Friday, January 31st, the self-made multi-millionaire and former congressman from Maryland officially ended his quixotic bid for the 2020 Democratic nomination. His quest began on July 28th, 2017, which means Delaney had been running for president for a whopping 918 days before deciding to hang it up 3 days shy of Monday’s Iowa caucuses. In a press release, his campaign chalked the decision up to an “internal analysis” that found he had no chance.

“It has been a privilege to campaign for the Democratic nomination for President, but it is clear that God has a different purpose for me at this moment in time,” Delaney wrote. “I leave this race with a profound sense of gratitude to the voters who shared with me their hopes and concerns for our magnificent country, in admiration for the other contenders for the nomination and proud of the work we did to change the debate.”

Delaney, who flirted with averaging one percent in the polls for the majority of his time in the race, did not go into detail about how exactly his campaign changed the debate. His run at the White House was built on several unorthodox proposals — including holding a nationally televised debate between the president and Congress four times per year — as well as an unappealing buffet of moderate policy positions. He also brought a deep skepticism of progressive reform to the debate stage, though the main upshot from that was being on the receiving end of a LeBron-level dunk from Elizabeth Warren.

Though he may not have been able to register much support in the polls, Delaney’s candidacy wasn’t for naught. Armed with a wardrobe full of tight-fitting polos, the 56-year-old will forever be remembered the most jacked man to ever seek the presidency.

I mean, seriously. Just look at those cannons.

You don’t wind up deadlifting a clean 350 without an ample supply of elbow grease, and Delaney’s had more of it than anyone else in the crowded field of Democratic candidates. “I have to beat them the old-fashioned way, which is by working harder on the ground and meeting with voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, which is something that those states really expect from candidates,” he told Rolling Stone last year. “I think the story that will continue to get told this year is that Delaney is showing up everywhere and working harder than everyone else, because that’s what we’re committed to do.”

That didn’t quite end up being the story of the year, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t lessons to draw from Delaney’s can-do campaign. Despite having zero name recognition, he was undeterred in his years-long mission to prove that if you have heart, determination, and a couple hundred million dollars, anything is possible in this great nation of ours, even a job at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He failed to make it there, but he sure as hell tried really hard.

So we salute you, John Delaney. If you ever need a spotter…well, you can probably just ask someone in the gym who didn’t spend almost 1,000 days running for president.


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