Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley looks increasingly like he's poised to challenge the Democrats' front-runner, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 presidential sweepstakes.
O'Malley, who served as governor of Maryland from 2007 through January of this year, will appear Sunday on ABC-TV's "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos, and heads to New Hampshire early next week for the "Politics and Eggs" Forum —
an important event for presidential hopefuls in the country's first primary election state.
He spent several days in Iowa last weekend and is expected to return there next month.
O'Malley, The Washington Post reported,
"has been aggressively positioning himself to run as a more liberal and more forward-looking alternative" to Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, and had indicated he will decide by May on whether to move forward with a presidential run."
To say O'Malley would face a huge uphill battle to become competitive with Clinton would be a huge understatement.
The latest Real Clear Politics average of public opinion polls
shows the former secretary of state leading the Democratic Party presidential primary field with 57.7 percent of the vote —
about 45 points ahead of Vice President Joe Biden, who came in second with 12.8 percent.
Third place went to freshman Massachusetts Sen Elizabeth Warren, with 12 percent, with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders
(an independent and self-avowed socialist who caucuses with Democrats) came in fourth with 4 percent. Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, who retired in 2013 after one term, came in fifth with 1.5 percent of the vote.
O'Malley came in sixth with 1.2 percent of the vote —
56.5 percentage points behind Clinton.
O'Malley's long-shot presidential hopes received a major blow in November when his hand-picked successor, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, was defeated by Republican challenger Larry Hogan in Maryland —
one of the nation's bluest states.
Hogan's victory, according to Politico,
"clearly reflected unhappiness with O'Malley."
The website added that Brown's crushing defeat in Maryland, a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1, had to leave O'Malley wondering "if he has any national future at all."
One reason that O'Malley's political fortunes have fallen so far in his home state was the disastrous rollout of the Maryland healthcare exchange website created under Obamacare. On Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services released the results of a year-long probe that found that Maryland improperly billed the federal government $28.4 million during the rollout.
That project —
the handiwork of O'Malley and Brown —
crashed on its first day and was plagued by software glitches and feuding among contractors.
By "refocusing attention on a dark period of [O'Malley's] tenure," the Baltimore Sun observed,
the report "could have political implications" for O'Malley, who "has pitched himself as a moderate, tech-savvy manager."
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