Former Maryland Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley has supporters stoked in early-voting Iowa, where there's talk the young, articulate politician could win the hearts and minds of presidential voters in much the same way John F. Kennedy did in the 1960s.
In dozens of interviews, the speculation is that the 52-year-old long-shot "has the ability to captivate the nation and rise from a relatively unknown to a political juggernaut" just like JFK, The Daily Iowan reports
— though he barely registers even in a poll
from his own backyard.
"He’s a new breed of Democrat," Davenport, Iowa, Mayor Bill Gluba gushed after a private lunch with O’Malley March 21, the Daily Iowan reports.
O'Malley made a big splash last weekend in Iowa
at more than a half-dozen events, logging 400 miles of travel and impressing presidential historian and political pundit Tom Whalen – especially with well-crafted speeches, the Daily Iowan reports.
"JFK wasn’t really JFK until he gave that famous inaugural speech," Whalen said.
Meanwhile, supporters say O'Malley was "energized" by his enthusiastic reception in Iowa, the Washington Post reports.
"I think he's poised to do it, to get in the race. He certainly seems to be heading in that direction," Rob Werner, a supporter from New Hampshire told the newspaper after attending an "issues conference" in Baltimore with the city's former mayor.
And there's no better time, according to Democratic activist Phil Noble; the flap over Hillary Clinton's use of a private email address
during her stint as secretary of state has created an opening for challengers.
"A month or so ago, there was a view that Hillary's it," Noble told The Post. "Now, there's a view that there is room for an alternative, and O'Malley's on the radar screen."
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