This story was updated at 3:40 p.m.
Rep. John Delaney of Potomac made it official on Friday—he’s running for president in 2020.
The District 6 Democratic congressman wrote in an op-ed published on The Washington Post website that he’s running because he has “an original approach to governing and economic policy that can put us on a different course.”
The op-ed ends speculation about Delaney’s political future—he was also rumored to be considering a run for Maryland governor.
Instead, the congressman first elected in 2012 will pursue the nation’s highest office in the 2020 election.
He notes in the op-ed that he founded and took two companies public before the age of 40 prior to entering politics.
President Donald Trump, a Republican, has been holding campaign events looking ahead to re-election. Other names have been mentioned as possible presidential contenders, but no established candidates have declared that they plan to run.
Delaney’s exit will likely be seen as a political opportunity in Maryland politics. Already Dels. Bill Frick (D-Bethesda) and Aruna Miller (D-Darnestown) are fundraising to campaign for the 6th District seat. State Sen. Roger Manno (D-Silver Spring) has also been making public appearances at events in the congressional district that stretches from Potomac into Western Maryland as he prepares for a possible run.
“We have been preparing for this eventuality because it’s very important to have a strong Democrat to hold the seat in 2018,” Frick said by phone on Friday, “so I’m prepared to be that strong Democrat.”
He added that he’ll release more information about his campaign plans soon.
Miller said she was grateful for Delaney’s service to the district and that she will pursue the seat.
“With the seat being open, absolutely I’m in the race,” Miller told Bethesda Beat Friday. “I believe the best person to serve the people of the 6th District is an individual who knows what it’s like to live in the district, who knows the issues people face here and has represented the area in the place.” Miller added, “I believe I’m that person.”
Republican Amie Hoeber, who lost last year to Delaney, said in a statement she’s considering another run at the seat and will announce her future plans “in the coming weeks.”
“I’m delighted that the Sixth Congressional District of Maryland now has the opportunity to choose a new Congressperson to represent the views of all the District’s constituents,” Hoeber said in the statement. “I am humbled by the support I received last year. I continue to be encouraged every day as I talk to voters throughout the District.”
Potomac businessman David Trone, the co-owner of Total Wine & More, has said he would consider running for the 6th District seat if Delaney steps down, but has also said he’s considering a run for Montgomery County executive.
Trone told Bethesda Beat Friday that he’ll make a decision on his political future soon as well.
“This is not a day to talk about me. It’s a day to talk about John Delaney. He has done a great job in Congress, bringing people together to get things done and that’s exactly what America needs,” Trone said Friday. “John would be a fantastic president and I’m behind him 100 percent. I’ll be announcing my plans in the coming days.”
Delaney cited his business experience as one of his assets.
“As a progressive businessman, I’ve made it a priority to be solutions-oriented and have been consistently recognized as one of the most innovative and bipartisan members of Congress,” Delaney, 54, wrote in his op-ed. “I’ve done this by simultaneously celebrating the power of our free-market economy while also insisting that there is a role for government to set goals and rules of the road and take care of those who are left behind.”
Delaney warns that increasing globalization and technology improvements will create “security risks” and strain resources, so the country must grapple with how these forces will impact jobs and work.
He wrote that his plans to improve infrastructure and pursue international tax reform are ways to ensure every American has a fair chance to succeed in today’s changing economy.
He also firmly committed to sticking with the presidential campaign: “To do this work with the commitment it deserves, I will not be running for reelection to the House of Representatives. No games, no cat-and-mouse, no backup plan at the 11th hour if a focus group goes badly.”
On Friday, Delaney also launched a website featuring a nearly 6-minute video about why he’s running. It starts off with a critique of Trump in which Delaney says the president is “not focused on the future.”
In an interview with The Baltimore Sun, Delaney said he was not angling for a cabinet position, such as treasury secretary, by raising his national profile with the presidential run. He said he’s trying to win the presidency.
“I view myself in this race as something of a long-distance swimmer,” Delaney told the paper. “I’m jumping in first, and I’m going to swim really hard.”
Delaney is a multimillionaire who made his fortune by first taking HealthCare Financial Partners, a lending company to nursing homes and doctors, public in 1996 at the age of 32, then selling it in 1999. A year later, he co-founded CapitalSource, a commercial and retail bank that provides loans to small and medium-sized businesses. He was the CEO of that company for nearly a decade before the company merged with PacWest Bancorp in 2014.
Delaney grew up in Wood-Ridge, New Jersey, the son of a union electrician. In a campaign video, he said he was able to attend Columbia University on a union scholarship. He later received a law degree from Georgetown University.
His wife, April Delaney, is the Washington director of Common Sense Media. They have four daughters.
John Delaney had no political experience before he jumped into the Democratic primary to try to unseat 10-term Republican Roscoe Bartlett in the 2012 race.
Prior to the election, the 6th District was redistricted to include more Democrats from Montgomery County. The district now stretches from Potomac, north through Frederick County, and includes the Western Maryland panhandle.
The redistricting process that created it is the subject of an ongoing federal lawsuit in which seven state residents are claiming its lines were gerrymandered to diminish the ability of Republicans to win it.
Delaney ended up beating establishment Democrat Robert Garagiola by 25 points in the primary. Garagiola, a former state Senate majority leader, was backed by Gov. Martin O’Malley, Senate President Mike Miller and other Democratic party leaders. Delaney beat Bartlett by 20 points in the general election.
In 2014, Delaney edged former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino, a Republican, by 3,000 votes to secure his first re-election. Last year, he beat Hoeber by 55,000 votes to return to the House of Representatives.
Delaney lives just outside the 6th District. The U.S. Constitution requires that House members live in the state they represent, but not the district.