Yes, John Delaney is Still Running
PANORA, Iowa—On a quiet Tuesday night, curious Iowans gathered at the Owl’s Nest Bar and Grill to meet Congressman John Delaney. Delaney embraced the spirit of retail politics on his Send a Message tour, where he held events throughout January in small Iowa towns. The visit to Panora was one of many events held across rural Iowa which is often forgotten by big campaigns. Delaney said he wanted to reach voters who represented all parts of Iowa. Before his event in Panora began, Delaney took the time to introduce himself to everyone in attendance. It felt strange to have a presidential candidate wandering among the masses, but he did just that. I suppose you have to be polling higher to worry about security threats. My friends and I sat at a table near the back of the reserved area, where we were later joined by a couple of Delaney staffers.
Shortly thereafter, one of the staffers introduced Delaney and he gave a short speech before asking for questions. I had the chance to ask him what he would do to tackle climate change. Delaney gave a long-winded answer that essentially boiled down to getting America to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and working with other world powers to provide developing countries with clean energy. He looked directly at me while answering most of the question, and I nodded vigorously in response. In a venue that small, there was no escaping his direct line of sight, except for a brief moment of reprieve when our waitress brought out our dinners. After explaining his plan for climate change, Delaney answered a question about Social Security, which led to him explaining how Social Security worked to an audience member.
After all the questions were answered, my friends and I approached Delaney to ask for selfies, at which point he quite literally begged us to caucus for him. I did not have the heart to tell him that I was already signed up to act as a precinct captain for another candidate. He had just bought me dinner after all! I watched the crowd carefully after the event, and it seemed only one audience member was enthusiastic about Delaney. This event, and perhaps Delaney’s whole campaign, was a blatant example of how retail politics alone cannot win over Iowa, especially in a candidate field as big as this one. Delaney shook hands and paid for dinners all over Iowa, but his polling numbers never went anywhere. He just did not have the name recognition, flashy policies, or personality to stand out. Delaney is a nice guy with some nice ideas, but he just could not grab the attention of Iowa caucus-goers.