Just three days before the Iowa caucuses, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney announced Friday he has withdrawn his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“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 said in a statement. “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.”

“I’ve campaigned harder than anyone in Iowa through all 99 counties,” he said on CNN’s New Day. “I’ve done hundreds of events across this great state, but it’s clear to me on Monday, on caucus night, I will not have sufficient support to get to the 15 percent viability threshold.”

He explained that he did not want his candidacy to take votes away from the more moderate candidates.


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“I just don’t want to do that, because I think we need a candidate that’s running in the center,” he said.

Although he said he would support whoever wins the Democratic nomination, he made it clear he believes a moderate candidate is best equipped to beat President Donald Trump and unite the country.

He has not yet endorsed a candidate, but mentioned a number of candidates who could be the potential moderate solution, including former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota).

“It’s clear to me that to have the best chance of beating Donald Trump, which is the most important thing for our party at this moment in time, and to actually be able to govern … we need someone with that type of orientation,” he said.

During his campaign, Delaney frequently targeted Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) for their progressive economic ideas like nationalizing healthcare.

Sanders, who has risen to a close second in an average of national polls, could polarize moderate Democrats, Delaney warned.

“People like Bernie Sanders who are running on throwing the whole U.S. economy out the window and starting from scratch, he’s running on taking private health insurance away from 180 million Americans, I just think that makes our job so much harder, in terms of beating Donald Trump,” he said.

Sanders is leading Biden in Iowa by an average of 3.6 points, so Delaney’s departure may have been a last-minute effort to boost Biden past Sanders. Buttigieg trails behind in third with a modest 15.8%, according to RealClearPolitics.

Delaney was the first candidate to join the Democratic primary, launching his largely self-funded campaign in 2017. However, he was not able to break from the back of the pack. He qualified for the first two debates in June and July but none after.

A Morning Consult poll released last month showed Delaney polling at 1 percent.

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