Rep. John Delaney, a Maryland Democrat, walks to the U.S. Capitol. (Baltimore Sun )
It turns out Gov. Martin O'Malley isn't the only Maryland politician occasionally stepping into Iowa.
Rep. John Delaney, the first-term congressman from Potomac, visited the early presidential primary state Thursday on behalf of Jim Mowrer, a Democrat looking to unseat six-term incumbent Republican Rep. Steve King in the state's 4th Congressional District, according to the Sioux City Journal.
Delaney's visit is noteworthy, even for a politician widely believed to have political ambitions beyond the House of Representatives. The trip, which comes weeks after Delaney announced he would personally bankroll an effort to raise the state's minimum wage, is likely to fuel speculation about the congressman's future.
Trips to early presidential primary states are frequently made by those flirting with a national campaign. Former presidential candidate Rick Perry swirled talk of a run in 2016 when news spread last month he would attend a county GOP dinner in the state this fall. O'Malley, who has said he is considering a run for the Democratic nomination, did the same when he spoke at a prominent political event there last year.
Delaney spokesman Will McDonald said in a statement that the two got to know each other last year when they were considering a run for office. "John believes we need more people in Congress like Jim Mowrer, who share his pragmatic bipartisan approach," he said.
Delaney, who unseat 10-term GOP Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett in Maryland's 6th Congressional District last year, is an interesting choice to stump for Mowrer. Both decided to take on long-time incumbent Republicans with a centrist economic message.
"John Delaney is one of the few representatives that is finding compromise in a gridlocked Congress," said Andrew Feldman, a Democratic political strategist. "This is about bringing more representatives to Congress who can really work with both sides of the aisle."
Feldman, who helped orchestrate Thursday's event, was a constant presence in the Delaney campaign last year and launched a political consultancy after the election. Feldman remains on Delaney's political payroll as a consultant and also now works for Mowrer's campaign.
But Delaney's real challenge -- and upset -- was in last year's primary for the Democratic nomination. The 6th District had been redrawn by lawmakers in Annapolis to favor Democrats in the general election.
By contrast, Mowrer appears to have a more difficult path to victory against King, who is favored to win reelection. Independent political analysts such as the Rothenberg Political Report do not consider the district competitive.