Updates on Trone and Delaney ― But No Big Clues About 2022

Former Maryland congressman John K. Delaney (D) on the presidential campaign trail last year in Albia, Iowa. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Among the many mysteries of the nascent 2022 election cycle in Maryland are the political plans of Rep. David J. Trone (D) and his predecessor, former Rep. John K. Delaney, who is coming off an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Here are two recent developments in their professional lives ― though neither should be seen as the definitive word on whether they plan to run for governor or any other political office in 2022:

Late last week, Trone electronically filed papers with the Federal Election Commission to run for a third term in 2022. But it’s basically a formality, a clerical move, to commence the process of campaigning and fundraising for the 2022 cycle.

It doesn’t mean that Trone is definitely running for reelection in the upcoming cycle or that he’s not running for governor. It simply answers the FEC’s starting bell ― and enables Trone to keep his options open. In fact, Trone’s 2020 challenger in the 6th District, Del. Neil C. Parrott (R-Washington), filed electronic papers earlier in the month to become a congressional candidate in 2022.

As of Tuesday afternoon, with a few votes still left to be counted, Trone defeated Parrott this month, 58.8% to 39.2%.

U.S. Rep. David J. Trone (D-Md.)

One of the things that may determine what Trone ― and Parrott ― do in 2022 is the contours of Maryland’s congressional map, which will be redrawn by Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) and the Maryland General Assembly in late 2021 or early 2022. The current lines of the 6th District were drawn by Democratic leaders in 2011 to elect a Democrat after it had been in Republican hands for two decades; Delaney won the seat in 2012.

Legal challenges to the 6th District boundaries went to the U.S. Supreme Court twice, but the justices decided against ruling on the Maryland lines or setting a national standard for what constitutes egregious gerrymandering.

Unlike 2020, Parrott would have to sacrifice his legislative seat to run for Congress in 2022, so he may choose to wait to see what the congressional boundaries look like before committing to another race. Trone might also take the partisan makeup of the district lines into consideration.

Trone’s vast personal wealth could also come into play as he decides whether to run for the vacant gubernatorial seat in 2022. Trone’s ability to self-fund a statewide race means he may not have to decide what office to seek until later in the election cycle than most other potential candidates.

Delaney’s personal wealth also makes him a potentially intriguing candidate for statewide office in 2022, but it isn’t clear whether, after three terms in Congress and his longshot White House bid, which he launched in the summer of 2017, he’s now done with seeking political office.

But Delaney, who is 57, clearly isn’t done with the business world.

On Monday, Bloomberg News reported that Delaney has set up a special acquisition company that seeks to raise up to $250 million through an initial public offering of securities.

Delaney, Bloomberg said, is listed as chief executive officer of a new entity called Revolution Acceleration Acquisition Corp. It’s a so-called blank check firm, a development stage company that has no specific business plan or purpose but indicates through filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission that its intention is to engage in a merger or acquisition with an unidentified company or companies.

According to its filing, Delaney’s Revolution Acceleration, based in Washington, said it would focus on companies “uniquely positioned to capitalize on the opportunities that can be unlocked by the convergence of innovation, government policy and regulation,” Bloomberg wrote. Businesses in infrastructure, health care, financial services, clean energy, consumer products and media are potential targets, the filing said.

Before entering Congress, Delaney ran a financial services firm and a health care financing company.

Delaney also had a commentary published Tuesday on the op-ed page of The Washington Post, calling for the government to pay $1,500 to each American to take a COVID-19 vaccine. This, he argued, would convince reluctant people to get a COVID-19 shot.

“In my life, I have found many examples of people underestimating the power of incentives but rarely any examples of people overestimating them,” Delaney wrote. “Incentives work. Let’s use them.”

The 2022 Democratic race for governor has been slow to take form, and state Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D) is the only candidate who has announced his intention to run. Other potential contenders include Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks, U.S. Rep. Anthony G. Brown, former state attorney general Douglas F. Gansler, former U.S. education secretary John B. King Jr., Baltimore County Executive John A. Olszewski Jr., and former Howard County executive Ken Ulman.

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(Disclosure: The David and June Trone Family Foundation has been a financial supporter of Maryland Matters.)