Congressman John Delaney, locked in a reelection battle with Amie Hoeber that is shaping up to be the closest race in the state this year (which to be fair to Delaney isn’t saying a whole lot), is quoted in Bethesda Magazine today that he has “no plans” to run for governor in 2018.
Since the upset victory of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan nearly two years ago, the assumption bordering on conventional wisdom in state political circles has been that 6th District Rep. John Delaney of Potomac will be among the Democrats vying to take on Hogan for a second term in 2018.
But, as he gears up for a third term bid against a well-funded Republican challenger in what is likely to be the most competitive race in the state this November, Delaney is doing his best to pour cold water on such speculation.
“Those rumors fly around all the time, and I’m obviously flattered that people think of me in that way,” Delaney declared during an hour-long, wide-ranging interview. “But I can tell you I have no plans to run for governor.”
He repeated the same “no plans to run for governor” phrase just minutes later, adding, “I’m focused on my job, and I love my job.”
He continued: “There are people who are thinking about running for governor—they are fundraising for it, they have political people [working]. I have none of that.” But, as one of the wealthiest members of the House of Representatives—recent financial disclosures put his net worth in excess of $110 million—he readily acknowledged he could largely self-fund a statewide campaign if he so chose.
Amie Hoeber, not to mention every self-styled insider in Montgomery County politics (yes, me too), is having none of it.
Hoeber, however, is convinced Annapolis remains very much in Delaney’s sights. “He clearly does not want this job. He clearly is running for governor, and I believe this district deserves someone who cares about this job—and I do,” declared Hoeber, a former Reagan administration official and long-time national security consultant. “I’m not looking at it as a stepping stone.”
Responded Delaney: “My opponent is oddly kind of petty about a bunch of things, this being one of them. I think she’d be better off speaking about what she cares about and wants to do as opposed to saying… that I’m going to run for some office that I haven’t said I’m running for.”
But Hoeber’s perceptions are shared, at least privately, by many of Delaney’s fellow partisans.
“I don’t think he’s given anyone any doubt that he wants to run for governor,” said one well-connected Montgomery County Democrat. A regular parlor game in local Democratic circles involves speculation who might run for the 6th District seat in 2018 if Delaney is re-elected this year and then seeks the governorship: Names mentioned include Potomac resident and businessman David Trone, the runner-up in this year’s 8th District Democratic primary, and at least six members of the county’s current General Assembly delegation.
Lou Peck is being bashful, which I’m not. In alphabetical order, his six names are most likely the following: Brian Feldman, Bill Frick, Roger Manno, Aruna Miller, Andrew Platt, Kirill Reznik.
Back to Delaney. Based on everything I’ve heard, which in this case is a lot and over an extended period of time, he wants to run. But it’s not the right thing to be talking about two months out from a contest with a well-funded and credible opponent. So I understand him saying what he did, but in the end it’s very likely that yes, he’s gong to run.