Quick Analysis: Delaney Got a Good Debate Draw

    Maryland’s lone Democratic presidential candidate, former congressman John K. Delaney, appears to have gotten a good draw in the first round of televised candidate debates, which will take place later this month.

    The Democratic National Committee on Friday announced the candidate line-up for the two nights of debates, which will be held on June 26 and 27 and aired on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo. The 20 candidates who qualified for the debates were divided in half in a random selection.

    Delaney will appear on June 26, alongside New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former San Antonio mayor Julián Castro, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

    The good news for Delaney? He’ll be sharing the stage with only one of the five leaders in the national polls, Warren. That means that the debate moderators may be more inclined to give most of the candidates roughly equal time, rather than looking for opportunities for the frontrunners to mix it up. That’s got to be helpful for candidates like Delaney, who are less well known.

    On the other hand, Delaney has been spoiling for a fight with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, hoping to highlight his differences with the avowed Democratic Socialist on a “Medicare for All” health care policy.

    Sanders will be appearing on stage on June 27 with Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, former vice president Joe Biden, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, California Sen. Kamala Harris, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, California Rep. Eric Swalwell, author Marianne Williamson, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

    Biden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg and Harris have topped most national polls.

    In a statement Friday, Delaney made it clear that Sanders remains in his sights.

    “The American people want universal health care, but they don’t want an approach that forces half the country to switch their plans or that under invests in quality,” he said. “I am also pleased to be sharing the debate stage with many strong candidates, particularly Senator Warren who, like me, is talking about new ideas. I look forward to a debate on issues and solutions, not personality and politics.”

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    Josh Kurtz
    Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.