Hillary Clinton might have some competition from the left after all. Martin O’Malley, the liberal former governor of Maryland, who’s little known outside his state, is certainly talking like a man who intends to run for president.
The 52-year-old Democrat, who has been visiting early voting states, said on msnbc’s Morning Joe on Thursday that he’d make a final decision on whether or not he’d run for the nation’s highest office by the spring. He also took a small jab at Clinton, his likely primary opponent, who has been dogged by news that she used only a private e-mail system to conduct official business while she was secretary of state.
The revelation has raised security and transparency concerns.
When asked if he would require his secretary of state to use an official server should he become commander-in-chief, O’Malley said, “Sure, it would be important to me.” The former governor had previously been reluctant to weigh in on the controversy, saying on Wednesday that he was too busy to watch Clinton’s press conference in which she addressed the issue and could therefore not have an opinion on it. He also said he was a “little sick of the e-mail drama” surrounding Clinton.
"Am I really up to 11%? ... Who did this poll? Was this my mom?"'
O’Malley, who served as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association from 2011 to 2013, didn’t completely throw his fellow Democrat under the bus, however. When asked if Clinton did anything wrong, he said, “I don’t feel compelled to answer that. Secretary Clinton is perfectly capable of defending her own service in office.” O’Malley had supported Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primary.
He also dropped hints as to what he’d make the cornerstone of a potential campaign, insisting that instead of e-mail policies, Americans are more concerned with reversing the trend of income inequality and rebuilding the middle class through initiatives like indexing the minimum wage and raising the threshold for overtime pay.
If he does run, O’Malley would certainly have an uphill battle. A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll asked Democratic voters who they could see themselves supporting in 2016. The vast majority—86% said Clinton, while just 11% said O’Malley. During the interview, the potential candidate was asked about the poll. He joked, “Am I really up to 11%? ... Who did this poll? Was this my mom?”
O’Malley then turned serious, acknowledging that while Clinton is the current frontrunner, the situation can change, and if he does run, he’ll run to win.
“Any of us in the Democratic party who feel we have a track record of executive experience, getting things done and a better framework for the future should offer ourselves in service and then we should trust the good judgment and the intelligence of the American people in their vote to do what they feel is best for themselves and their families.”
The former governor, who was also mayor of Baltimore from 1999 to 2008, also said, “I’ve never run a bad race.”