John Delaney, a multi-millionaire financier from Potomac, said Wednesday that he will seek the Democratic nomination for Maryland's newly drawn 6th Congressional District, setting up a potentially competitive April primary with State Sen. Rob Garagiola.
Delaney told The Sun that he filed to put his name on the ballot for the Western Maryland district Wednesday afternoon.
"We need people who have leadership ability," Delaney said in an interview Wednesday. "We're at a point with the decision-making process in Washington where Congress is just completely unable" to do its job.
Delaney said he believes Congress must take a middle path between drastic spending cuts and allowing budget deficits to continue to spiral out of control. He said he supports the broad outlines of the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction recommendations that called for cuts and new revenue to address the deficit.
"The first thing Congress can do is create some confidence and some certainty around our fiscal situation," Delaney said.
Delaney, 48, runs CapitalSource, a Chevy Chase commercial lender he co-founded in 2000. The company makes loans to small- and medium-sized businesses. Delaney has touted his business know-how and has noted that he is "not a professional politician."
But Delaney is no stranger to politics, either. He and his wife are prolific political donors. In the 2008 cycle that elected Barack Obama to the White House, Delaney contributed $57,000 to the Democratic National Committee. For the 2012 election, he and his wife have given $9,000 to New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat.
He more recently launched Blueprint Maryland, a group that sought ways to lessen the state's economic dependence on the federal government.
The race could be among the most competitive -- and expensive -- in the country in the general election, offering Democrats a rare opportunity to pick off a Republican. The incumbent, 10-term Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, has said he intends to seek reelection.
Asked if he would be willing to spend his own money in the race, Delaney said, "Yeah, I'll definitely do that," but he also said he will aggressively raise money from donors. Self-funded candidates often do poorly at the ballot box. In 2010, 85 percent of candidates who used their own money to fund 50 percent or more of their campaigns lost, according to an OpenSecrets analysis.
"I ultimately believe that my campaign will have the resources to compete," he said.
Delaney could also face criticism for not living in the district. The Potomac home he lists as his primary residence for tax purposes rests about two-tenths of a mile inside the 8th Congressional District, which is represented by Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen.