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Hillary Loyalist Gov. O'Malley as a Hillary Alternative in 2016?

Hillary Loyalist Gov. O'Malley as a Hillary Alternative in 2016?
(Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Landov)

By    |   Tuesday, 28 October 2014 02:16 PM

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat and long-time loyalist of Hillary Clinton, has a difficult decision looming: Whether he'll challenge the woman he supported "all the way through" the 2008 party primaries and mount a campaign of his own for the presidency.

So far, the 51-year-old is campaigning for other Democrats and potentially positioning himself as an alternative to Clinton, 67, reports The New York Times, but remains reluctant to criticize Clinton herself, instead targeting President Barack Obama, who ends his second term in two years.

During a recent interview, when the Times asked him about Clinton's remarks that illegal minor immigrants who crossed the Texas border illegally "should be sent home," O'Malley replied that he "wasn't really focused" on what she was saying, but criticized Obama for sending minors back to their homelands to face "summary return to the death squads from which they fled."

He also refused to compare his style of leadership with Clinton's, instead criticizing Obama for failing to build the Democrat Party, and echoed Clinton's criticism about how Obama allowed the Islamic State (ISIS) threat to grow.

Still, O'Malley is "seriously considering" running for the presidency, dismissing criticism that he is trying to build his name in hopes of being Clinton's running mate or to hold a place in her cabinet.

"They would say that about anyone who was contemplating doing this as a relative unknown," O'Malley said. "But history is full of relative unknowns who go and do the hard work, put together a more compelling framework for our country's future, and go out and campaign."

O'Malley has been busy during the midterm campaign season, stumping for more than 150 Democratic candidates and visiting Iowa four times since June alone.

The governor has dedicated his adult life to politics, including taking time away from Catholic University to work for presidential candidate Gary Hart's campaign. Hart overcame dismal polling numbers and nearly defeated Walter Mondale for the nomination that year, and says O'Malley should run for the nomination.

"He should run, not only for his own sake but I think for the party's sake," Hart said of O'Malley, who he considers a friend. "I don't believe in coronations. I guess Walter Mondale was the Hillary Clinton of that time."

O'Malley eventually moved to Baltimore from Washington and married into a political family before running for city council and eventually mayor, winning the race in a city with more than 60 percent African-American voters.

And after lowering the crime rate and being lambasted in the cable TV series "The Wire," he was elected governor.

But key Democrat donors are not yet sure O'Malley's popularity in Baltimore will translate to a national race.

Some pundits say that the Maryland governor's best plan may be to position himself like Vermont's Howard Dean did in 2004, reports The Washington Post.

Dean gained power by appealing to the more left-wing voters of his party and strongly opposing the Iraq War. Further, he made an early call for universal healthcare.

Joe Trippi, an operative who ran Dean's campaign, said the better comparison could be to the Mondale-Hart campaign. Trippi managed the Mondale campaign in Iowa, while O'Malley worked for Hart there.

"I think right now O'Malley is running to become the other guy, with the hope that the field will quickly narrow to two candidates," Trippi told the Post, and while Clinton would be the favorite in a presidential race, "of all the people out there, he's the one I would be most worried about."

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Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat and long-time loyalist of Hillary Clinton, has a difficult decision looming: Whether he'll challenge the woman he supported "all the way through" the 2008 party primaries and mount a campaign of his own for the presidency.
OMalley, Hillary, 2016, president, alternative
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2014-16-28
Tuesday, 28 October 2014 02:16 PM
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