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John Delaney. Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Former Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) announced Friday that he was dropping out of the 2020 presidential race.

The big picture: Delaney was the first Democrat to announce his candidacy in the 2020 election, yet failed to establish himself once the field grew. In July, Axios reported that Delaney's staff had asked him to drop out, suggesting he wasn't spending enough money to run a competitive race and had flopped at the first debate.

  • At the time, Delaney denied the accusations, stating he had "no plans to drop out of the race."
  • He failed to qualify for later debates — benchmarks largely seen as a make-or-break moments for campaigns.
  • Questioned by Medium in December as to why he was still in the race, Delaney said his plan was "to do well in Iowa, and send a message that a candidate that actually focuses on rural Iowa, and focuses on campaigning in people’s living rooms and in coffee shops, still matters."

The state of play: The campaign said in the announcement that Delaney had decided to drop out after concluding that he would not reach the 15% viability threshold across much of Iowa — but still had enough support to hurt other moderate candidates.

What he's saying:

"Let’s stop the nonsense of unrealistic and divisive campaign promises and be the party the American people need — a decent, unifying, future-focused and common-sense party. And please don’t listen to the cynics, the naysayers and the dividers; while we have significant challenges and too many Americans are struggling, the world gets better every year and the United States of America has driven much of this progress — let’s keep it that way."

Go deeper ... 2020 presidential election: Track which candidates are running

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Virginia attorney general fires Jan. 6 investigator from university post

McIntire Amphitheater at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. Photo: Robert Knopes/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The lead investigator for the Jan. 6 House select committee investigating the Capitol riot has been fired from his position as the University of Virginia's counsel by the state's new Republican attorney general, per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: Democrats say the removal of Tim Heaphy from his post after some three years while he's on leave from the university to investigate the insurrection is likely "retribution" for the House probe — an accusation strongly denied by the office of state Attorney General Jason Miyares (R).

5 hours ago - World

Taiwan's military scrambles jets after detecting 39 Chinese warplanes

J-20 stealth fighter jets in Zhuhai in the Guangdong Province of China last year. Photo: Chen Jimin/China News Service via Getty Images

Taiwan's defense force said 39 Chinese warplanes flew into its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Sunday.

Why it matters: The largest Chinese air force incursion into the zone since October came a day after the U.S. and Japanese navies conducted a joint exercise in the Philippine Sea.

6 hours ago - Sports

Gonzaga University revokes NBA great John Stockton's tickets over mask stance

Former Utah Jazz player John Stockton during a 2017 press conference in Salt Lake City. Photo: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Gonzaga University suspended the season tickets of notable alumni John Stockton after the NBA Hall of Famer failed to comply with the school's basketball games mask mandate, the Spokesman-Review first reported.

Driving the news: "Basically, it came down to, they were asking me to wear a mask to the games and being a public figure, someone a little bit more visible, I stuck out in the crowd a little bit," the former Utah Jazz point guard told the outlet in an interview Saturday.