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Md. governor’s poll that includes Delaney’s name raises questions about his thinking

Is Rep. John K. Delaney (D-Md.) thinking about running for governor of Maryland?

There’s at least some circumstantial evidence. A telephone poll has been conducted in recent days that includes the names of Democrats who’ve already announced they’re running for governor — along with that of Delaney, the freshman congressman.

Delaney, who has been outspoken recently on the state’s efforts to raise the minimum wage and its troubled online health insurance exchange, declined to comment Sunday on whether a poll was being conducted on his behalf. He allowed during a brief interview that he has polled on a variety of issues in the past but said that he’s “very focused” on his job in Congress.

Karla Raettig, executive director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, happened to be among those who got called as part of the poll. Raettig said she was interviewed Thursday and surprised to hear one of the choices offered for governor.

“As someone who follows this pretty carefully, when they said ‘John Delaney,’ I kind of perked up,” said Raettig, whose organization is preparing to endorse a candidate.

Raettig said the poll did not identify its sponsor.

It included questions about negative aspects of the candidacies of Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) and Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D), Raettig said. She said she was asked if she was satisfied with the candidates already in the race or if she would be interested in someone new.

Delaney, a financier who won election in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District in 2012, has taken an interest in state-level issues in recent months. He has been a critic of the state’s botched rollout of its health exchange, suggesting state leaders consider switching to the federal exchange.

He reiterated that position in a statement Sunday, issued in response to a Washington Post story detailing warning signs that the state’s Oct. 1 launch would be very risky.

“On the federal exchange, we are successfully providing a platform for Americans to enroll in private coverage,” Delaney said in the statement. “In Maryland, as of January 12, it appears that we are not able to do that.”

Delaney said that it would be wrong to read anything about his political aspirations into his comments.

“It’s not a premeditated strategy,” he said. “I’m just doing my job.”

Ben Pershing contributed to this report.

John Wagner is a political reporter covering the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.



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