Wealthy financier John Delaney stole a longtime Republican seat for the Democrats with his defeat in November of 10-term Rep. Roscoe Bartlett.
A native of New Jersey, Delaney was raised by a homemaker mother and an electrician father, who was a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 164. His father had never attended college, but his union members pooled their money for a scholarship fund for his son, allowing Delaney to pursue a degree in biology at Columbia University. He was planning to become a doctor, but eventually switched to business. He met his wife, April McClain, a California native, in Washington, while attending Georgetown University law school. He received his law degree in 1988.
Delaney founded his first business, Healthcare Financial Partners, in 1993 and served as its chairman for seven years before starting the financial-loan bank CapitalSource, a Montgomery County-based investment company that lends money to small- and mid-sized businesses. The Baltimore Sun reported in March 2012 that Delaney, should he win, would be the fourth richest member of Congress, with a net worth between $52 million and $232 million. (Candidates and lawmakers are not required to report exact income figures, only ranges of income.)
In the Democratic primary, state Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola was considered the front-runner. Yet Delaney benefited from some high-powered connections. He is a friend of both former President Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Delaney donated to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and bundled contributions for her as well. Bill Clinton endorsed Delaney in the primary over Garagiola, a decisive moment in the campaign.
Garagiola opted not to pursue an aggressive broadcast-advertising strategy, and Delaney suddenly had the airwaves to himself. Delaney, a Catholic and lifelong Democrat, campaigned as a social liberal, championing same-sex marriage and women’s issues while comparing himself to more centrist-leaning, business-minded Democrats like Bill Clinton and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., on fiscal issues. Delaney won a resounding, 25-point victory in April. The 49-year-old also tallied almost 3,000 more votes than Bartlett did in the GOP primary.
Delaney had a considerable advantage in the general election. Maryland’s new redistricting map made the 6th more Democrat-friendly, pushing the borders into liberal Montgomery County. Yet the moderate Bartlett is an idiosyncratic politician and not easy to define. A physiologist by training, he has chastised conservative Republicans for not accepting the science of climate change. But by then in his mid-80s, many observers thought Bartlett would retire and he raised almost no money in the early months. Bartlett picked up the pace a bit, but it didn’t change the perception that Republicans were ceding the seat. By the end of September, Delaney had raised $3.5 million to Bartlett’s $1 million.
Dan Roem contributed to this article.