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Tuesday, June 2, 2015


George Wenschhof
Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley made his bid for the Democratic Party nomination for president official yesterday.
He makes the third Democrat to announce a run for president, joining Senator Bernie Sanders and heavily favored former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
Former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee will make it four when he is expected to announce on Wednesday this week.
Interestingly, Sanders has been a Independent Senator from Vermont and Chafee was a Republican who became an Independent in 2007. Chafee would serve one term as Independent Governor of Rhode Island and chose not to run for reelection in 2014. Chafee served as co-chair of President Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012.
While the most recent national poll shows O’Malley at only one percent and Sanders at fifteen percent, he is the only long time serving Democrat to challenge Clinton in the Democratic primary.
Having watched the announcement speeches given by Sanders and O’Malley, Sanders had a larger and more vocal crowd of supporters on hand.
Sanders was also much more emotional and emphatic on his progressive stands on issues while O’Malley was more measured as he read a prepared statement.
While, O’Malley remains a long shot, I would not count him out. National polls are not what wins state primaries and O’Malley has a long history of working at the grassroots level.
O’Malley is also much more charismatic in smaller settings. If, he can learn to project this when addressing a national audience, it will aid his campaign.
He lengthy experience in politics began when he was in college when he volunteered to work in Iowa for the 1984 Gary Hart campaign.
O’Malley was also named state field director for Senator Barbara Mikulski’s U.S. senate race in 1986 while he was attending law school.
After law school O’Malley would run for state senate and lose by 44 votes to John Pica.
Since the initial loss, O’Malley would serve two terms on the Baltimore City council, two terms as mayor of Baltimore followed by two terms as Governor of Maryland.
While serving as Governor, he would be named the chair of the Democratic Governors Association. This would give him much needed national exposure.
It has also been reported his ‘O’Say Can You See’ PAC donated to races in Iowa during the 2012 election.
I met him shortly after he became mayor and for those of us who got to know him somewhat, a race for the White House was never in doubt.
A major negative for O’Malley will be that his Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, who he threw his support behind would lose to Republican Larry Hogan in his bid for Governor of Maryland. This loss coming in a state where Democratic voters outnumber Republicans voters 2-1.
O’Malley has demonstrated a long history of winning campaigns and a willingness to work hard at the grassroots level.
This may help him in the Iowa caucuses where the Democratic primary gets underway.
Stay tuned.

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