Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley Positions Himself to Challenge Hillary

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Maryland’s former Democrat Governor Martin O’Malley has been making all the moves necessary to present himself as a sensible alternative to Hillary Clinton for the Democrat nomination for President in 2016, but by some accounts he has yet to make much headway towards his goal.

A recent Associated Press report notes that even as he spent time in Iowa this weekend, O’Malley was not recognized by many in the Hawkeye State. It was an inauspicious start to his bid for 2016.

O’Malley himself seemed to admit that he did not make many waves in Iowa. “I think it’s because they haven’t met me yet,” he said.

All this despite O’Malley’s efforts in Iowa thus far. After launching his prototype campaign website the former governor visited Iowa twenty-four times and set up a small campaign office with one full time staffer. He also spent some $40,000 to help local candidates.

O’Malley has also helped fund 14 workers for different candidates across Iowa, one candidate of whom was Democrat Jack Hatch who recently lost a bid to unseat the state’s Republican Governor, Terry Branstad. O’Malley gave Hatch three staffers for his campaign.

After all that ground work, though, only some 200 Iowans attended his event on Saturday.

Regardless, O’Malley has been crisscrossing the country trying to build his ground game and seems to have settled, at least currently, on the economic theme of declining wages and income inequality.

Pushing his economic theme early last week O’Malley made a call for a larger welfare state saying, “There’s been a myth pushed that what’s wrong with our country is entitlements. I think we do need to expand Social Security, and I think we need to be unabashed about it.”

O’Malley went on to praise the far left ideas of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. “I think that people have been responding to Senator Warren because of the clarity with which she speaks to the rigging of the system,” he said.

But in a race that will likely be heavy on foreign policy, O’Malley has little to say. If some of his recent comments are any indication, it is likely that he will try to replace a real foreign policy discussion with talk of global warming. Calling climate change a “security imperative” earlier in March, O’Malley said he thought the US needed to “collaborate with likeminded people around the globe to confront the challenge of climate change.”

The state O’Malley once led, though, is still dealing with the consequences of his tenure in Annapolis. As The Wall Street Journal noted on Friday, the state is reeling from yet another tax increase due to a loophole O’Malley added to the property tax cap passed in 2012.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at


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