WASHINGTON (WJZ) — The U.S. Census Bureau director said he will jump into the seal pool at the National Aquarium in Baltimore if the city’s response rate to the 2020 census meets or exceeds the state average.

Director Steven Dillingham made the comment during a House Oversight committee hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday.

“I made that pledge to Mayor Young last week,” he said. “If the city’s response rate matches or exceeds the state average, I would love to jump into the seal pool to celebrate the city’s success.”

The move echoes a famous plunge into the pool from late governor William Donald Schaefer in 1981, who dove in after losing a bet about the timing of the aquarium’s opening.

National Aquarium Celebrates Legacy Of William Donald Schaefer With Mural Called ‘Schaefer’s Splash’

Dillingham added he also expects to lose the bet, saying the officials partnering with the Census Bureau in Baltimore on the once-a-decade count have “great ideas and initiative” when it comes to making sure hard-to-count individuals are tallied in the census.

Watch the exchange below:


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