Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley returned to Hollywood this week to meet with well-connected, deep-pocketed donors as he decides whether to challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in the 2016 presidential race.
O’Malley visited the Sony Pictures lot on Wednesday afternoon, where he has friends in Sony Pictures Television President Steve Mosko and film division head Tom Rothman, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
On Thursday night, O’Malley will reportedly attend a “meet-and-greet” fundraiser with around 50 influential Democrat donors at the posh Republique restaurant on La Brea Ave. The event was organized by Sony Pictures executive Eric Paquette and Youth Policy Institute executive director Dixon Slingerland, one of President Obama’s top fundraisers since 2007.
O’Malley’s visit suggests that some Hollywood industry heavyweights believe the former governor of Maryland is a more progressive, left-leaning candidate than Clinton. While Clinton still enjoys widespread support from entertainment industry donors, O’Malley has ratcheted up his visits to Hollywood over the past several months as he inches toward a decision on a presidential bid.
In September, Paquette reportedly hosted a $1,000 per person fundraiser for O’Malley PAC “O’Say Can You See” in West Hollywood that was attended by a number of business executives, including MarketShare CEO Jon Vein, KMS Software founder Yolanda Parker, and Slingerland.
In June, O’Malley was the guest of honor at another meet-and-greet luncheon in the executive dining room at the Sony Pictures lot. Around 40 Sony executives, most originally hailing from Maryland, met with O’Malley for a lunch flown in from C.J.’s Restaurants, a Maryland crabhouse staple, according to Buzzfeed. The luncheon reportedly served as a way for O’Malley to meet some of Hollywood’s plugged-in political operatives, rather than as a simple fundraiser.
O’Malley has said that he will wait until the end of May to announce whether or not he will run for president in 2016, although he has been positioning himself as an alternative to Clinton over the past few months.