Despite coming under intense scrutiny in the wake of racially-charged unrest throughout the city of Baltimore this week, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is standing by his eight-year record as mayor of Charm City – so much so that if the governor does end up deciding to seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2016, Baltimore would be the only city where he’d consider announcing.
“I wouldn’t think about announcing any place else,” O’Malley told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd on Sunday. “Our story is not over. We are not defeated as a city, and we are not about to throw in the towel on our country.”
The potential presidential contender would face an uphill battle, however, in edging out a primary victory over Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. Making matters worse, he would now have to overcome a flurry of criticism surrounding the policing policies he supported as mayor of Baltimore that many have blasted for contributing to the existing tensions between law enforcement and African-American residents.
Those tensions erupted this week in a series of protests – some of which turned violent – over the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who sustained a fatal spinal cord injury while in police custody last month. O’Malley called the incident “a heartbreaking setback for an otherwise remarkable comeback for Baltimore over these last 15 years.”
“I did not dedicate my life to making Baltimore a safer and more just place because it was easy, and I am more inclined and more deeply motivated now to address what’s wrong with our country and what needs to be healed and what needs to be fixed,” O’Malley said. “This should be a wakeup call for the entire country.”
In the time since he became mayor in 1999, O’Malley said, “we have cut crime in half” in the city of Baltimore. He said he plans to decide whether to make a presidential run later this month.