Martin O'Malley: Presidential candidate? Maybe. Clinton rival? No way.

It makes perfect sense for potential Democratic presidential candidates to visit Iowa, meeting activists and keeping their options open. That doesn’t mean any of them would run against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Case in point: Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. Having keynoted the Iowa Democratic Party’s state convention last month, he’s coming here again this weekend, headlining events for State Senator Rita Hart and state Senate candidate Kevin Kinney on Saturday, then Council Bluffs and Sioux City events for gubernatorial nominee Jack Hatch on Sunday. Politico’s Maggie Halberman notes that O’Malley “has said he’s exploring a 2016 presidential run.” A Des Moines Register headline writer termed him a “possible rival” to Clinton. Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post speculated, “O’Malley is term limited out as governor at the end of this year and undoubtedly thinks a credible run for president might bolster his chances of a spot in a Clinton Administration.”

I just don’t see it. Laying the groundwork for a potential campaign is not the same thing as preparing to embark on a suicide mission. O’Malley doesn’t come across as a guy like Senator Bernie Sanders, who knows he will never be president but might run to shine a light on issues important to him. O’Malley goes way back with Bill and Hillary Clinton. He stuck with Hillary for president even after Barack Obama dominated the 2008 Maryland primary. From where I’m sitting, CNN’s Dan Merica had it exactly right when he described O’Malley as an “understudy,” “angling to be the person who could step in” if Clinton does not run for president for whatever reason. Maryland’s term limits for governors make 2016 an ideal time for O’Malley to run for president, but he’s only 51 years old–young enough to wait until 2020 or 2024 if necessary.

Meanwhile, I hope all of this weekend’s events are successful, because Hatch, Hart, and Kinney are very worth supporting.

Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread.

P.S. – Hart’s re-election bid in Senate district 49 is a must-hold for Democrats. Kinney’s running in the open Senate district 39, and if he wins, it would virtually guarantee a Democratic majority in the state legislature’s upper chamber for the next two years.

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  • O'Malley

    I agree with you 100% on this matter.  O’Malley may run in order to keep his name alive for an extremely slight chance at the VP slot as well.  I could see him as a Secretary of Commerce or HUD in a Clinton Administration, maybe Attorney General.

    Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd and Joe Biden all got into the dance in 2008 knowing they had very little chance to win the nomination, given that all the natural enthusiasm was going to the three “top candidates”.  They all wanted to keep their names in the paper and open for other opportunities.  

    If you went strictly off of resume and policy knowledge I think Richardson may have had the field beat.  Richardson is an unapologetic free trader and I wasn’t going to back anyone that I disagree with on a top issue like that.  

    • assuming he wants a Clinton administration job

      I believe there are better ways for him to get one than running for president against her.

      Richardson was a classic example of a candidate who looked better on paper than he did “in real life.” Not a great speaker or debater.