The first Democratic candidate has entered the 2020 presidential election

And they're off.

The first Democrat has entered the 2020 presidential election in the hopes of challenging President Donald Trump. Maryland Rep. John Delaney, who represents a Maryland House seat that encompasses the suburbs of Washington, announced his candidacy in a Washington Post op-ed on Friday.

"It is time for us to rise above our broken politics and renew the spirit that enabled us to achieve the seemingly impossible," Delaney wrote. "This is why I am running for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States."

Delaney's bid is quixotic, to say the least.

A moderate Democrat and wealthy businessman who was first elected in 2012, Delaney has served in the House in relative obscurity.

And he plans to retire from his congressional seat after his term ends in 2018 to pursue his presidential bid — which will make it even harder for him to grow a profile in the lead-up to the 2020 election.

His announcement comes curiously early, with FiveThirtyEight forecaster Harry Enten estimating it could be the earliest candidacy announcement on record since at least 1972.

Delaney said he is retiring in order to run for president "with the commitment it deserves."

"No games, no cat-and-mouse, no backup plan at the 11th hour if a focus group goes badly," Delaney wrote.

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People who might run against Trump in 2020
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People who might run against Trump in 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden

(Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

(Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)

(Photo by Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Sen. Kamala Davis (D-Calif.)

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.)

(Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg

(Photo by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.)

(Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)

(Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

(Photo credit MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley

(Photo credit NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro

(Photo by Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.)

(Photo by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.)

(Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.)

(Photo credit ZACH GIBSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick

(Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

(Photo by James Keivom/NY Daily News via Getty Images)

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Environmental activist Tom Steyer

(Photo by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez

(Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton 

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom

(Photo by Yichuan Cao/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg

(Photo credit FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz

(Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Former first lady Michelle Obama

(Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

(Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii)

(Photo credit TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.)

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y)

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

California Gov. Jerry Brown

(Photo by Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Caruso )

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey

(Photo by Moeletsi Mabe/Sunday Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.)

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean

(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Former Vice President Al Gore

(Photo credit DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images)

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)

(Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Former Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.)

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

(Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images,)

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.)

(Photo by Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu

Albin Lohr-Jones/Pool via Bloomberg

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.)

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee

(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

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In 2014, Delaney was the third richest member of Congress, according to Roll Call's ranking of congressional wealth, with a net worth of at least $92 million. That means he could self-finance at least part of his bid.

But given that he's not a known quantity in politics, it would take a substantial amount of time and resources to become a top-tier player in the race.

Other well-known politicians on the left with a well-established following are also mulling Democratic bids, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Delaney's announcement, however, is a sign that Democrats could face as crowded a primary as Republicans did in 2016, with 17 candidates vying for the spot Trump won.

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