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visits to 2ndQ 15
O'Malley for President
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Letters to the People of Maryland
[hon. co-chair]
O'Malley's March (band)


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Sept. 2012-March 2013
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Conventional Wisdom
- Seen as leading alternative to Hillary Clinton.
- Connections gained as chair and finance chair of the Democratic Governors Association.
- Theme of data-driven government and performance measurement.
- Limited national name ID.
- Hails from one of the most Democratic states; unknown ability to appeal to independent voters.

Notes, Coverage and Speeches

Mar. 11, 2015 - Speaking on data-driven government at Brookings.
May 30, 2015 - Annoucement speech at Federal Hill Park in Baltimore, MD.

July 29, 2014 - "Fireside Chat" at 1776.
Aug. 7, 2014 - Minimum wage event with Secretary of Labor Tom Perez.
Oct.  30, 2014 - At a rally for Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown.
Aug. 5, 2013 - Announcing transportation
investments for Montgomery County.
Nov. 11, 2013 - At ceremony for release of
World War II Medal of Honor stamps.
May 13, 2014 - Media luncheon promoting "Star-Spangled Spectacular."
- How to Respond to the Terrorist Attacks in Paris at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, NH, Nov. 23, 2015.
- DNC Summer Meeting at the Hilton Minneapolis in Minneapolis, MN, Aug. 28, 2015.
- Foreign Policy Speech at TruCon15 Conference in Washington, DC, June 26, 2015.
- Announcement Speech at Federal Hill Park in Baltimore, MD, May 30, 2015.
- "Building an Economy that Works for Everyone" at Harvard Kennedy School's Institute of Politics, Cambridge, MA, Apr. 16, 2015.
- State of the State "Forward Together, Stronger Together" in Annapolis, MD, Jan. 23, 2014.
- NHDP 2013 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner at The Expo Center at the Radisson Hotel Manchester, Manchester, NH, Nov. 16, 2013.

2015 - Former Gov. Martin O'Malley announced his candidacy at Federal Hill in Baltimore, MD on May 30 (+).  Declaring that, "Our economic and political system is upside down and backwards and it is time to turn it around," O'Malley called for rebuilding the American Dream.  Specifically, O'Malley said, "that means a higher minimum wage, that means overtime pay for overtime work, and that means making it easier rather than harder for workers to organize and bargain collectively for better wages."   O'Malley, who had been seen as the likely major alternative to Hillary Clinton, has through the campaign thus far found his message overshadowed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who has  a decades-long record as a progressive leader.

O'Malley sought to distinguish himself in the realm of policy
, and starting in June he presented a raft of policy proposals and ideas
- In a foreign policy speech on June 26 he called for "a more pro-active foreign policy—based on engagement and collaboration, rather than going it alone (+)." 
- He announced he would set a goal for the United States of achieving 100% renewable energy by 2050 (+). 
- He outlined proposals to achieve a "goal of giving every American the opportunity to go college debt-free within five years (+)." 
- He detailed proposals for Wall Street reform in a ten-page white paper (+).
- And, he outlined "a progressive plan to fix our inhumane immigration system (+)."
In August he presented an impressive package of "15 Goals to Rebuild the American Dream (+)." 

A bit of potentially troubling news for O'Malley arrived at the end of August in the form of new reports that as he exited the Governor's Mansion in January, he acquired many furnishings at deeply discounted prices.  Local newspaper editorials were not positive: "O'Malley's sweetheart deal" (The Baltimore Sun >) and "Martin O'Malley, bargain shopper" (The Washington Post >).  The story seemed to have little effect. 

O'Malley and his campaign pushed forcefully for more debates (+).  They hoped that one of the debates might provide a breakout moment, but neither the first debate on October 13 in Las Vegas nor the second one November 14 in Des Moines (+) seemed to move the needle much.

Presaging the Campaign
O'Malley outlined major themes in an April 16 speech
at Harvard Kennedy School's Institute of Politics on "Building an Economy that Works for Everyone": 1) "restore common-sense wage policies" such as raising the minimum wage, immigration reform including a path to citizenship, and student debt relief; 2) make necessary investments in R&D and infrastructure; 3) "restore accountability to our financial markets;" 4) do not enter bad trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership; and 5) expand Social Security benefits.

The death on April 19 of Freddie Gray, an African-American man in police custody, prompted days of protest in Baltimore which peaked in rioting on the night of April 25.  O'Malley, whose tenure as mayor of Baltimore ran from Dec. 1999-Jan. 2007, cut short a trip to Europe and returned to Baltimore.  O'Malley showed up in the neighborhood, assessing the damage and comforting those affected.  He also did multiple interviews, declaring for example on NBC News' "Meet the Press, "This should be a wake up call for the entire country. We have deep problems, and we need deeper understanding."  The episode could pose problems for O'Malley, as his narrative highlights crime reduction and restoration of order to Baltimore.  Some critics even argued that zero-tolerance policies O'Malley promoted were a factor contributing to underlying tensions.

In the waning days of the O'Malley administration there were varying assessments of his accomplishments.  O'Malley argues the quality of life for many Marylanders has improved (+), and he frequenlly points to statistics showing Maryland leading on K-12 education, median household income, innovation and entrepreneurship, and upward mobility.  Looking at StateStat, one sees that Maryland is "on track" on eight of his sixteen strategic goals, "progressing" on five, reporting "insufficient progress" on two, and is "lagging" on one.  O'Malley presented a review of his record and accomplishments at the Board of Public Works meeting in Annapolis on Jan. 7.  Maryland faced a budget shortfall of $400 million in its FY2015 operating budget, and the Board of Public Works approved $205,255,188 in cuts including a 2-percent reduction for state agencies (>).  Explaining the shortfall (>), O'Malley cited "federal government shutdowns, the continuing threat of government shutdowns, congressional misbehavior that results in sequester cuts that continue on and on and on…. [all of these things] have a disproportionate impact on our economy compared to Southern California or the Northwest or even New England."  He noted that the cuts would result in "no layoffs to state employees, no cuts to K-12 education."  O'Malley also pointed to the state's AAA bond rating, noted that average annual general fund growth in his tenure was lower than under the last five governors, and said the state is at its lowest level of state employees per thousand residents since 1973.

After finishing his tenure as governor on Jan. 21, O'Malley joined Johns Hopkins University's Carey Business School as a visiting professor (+) and signed on with the Washington Speakers Bureau. 

2014 - In 2014 Gov. O'Malley was the most active of the few active potential Democratic candidates, except for Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, in his visits to the key early states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.  He made four trips to Iowa, four trips to New Hampshire, and three trips to South Carolina (+), and unlike Sanders his trips had a heavy focus on stumping for Democratic candidates.  In addition, O'Malley's PAC paid for "more than two campaign staffers" to work on Democratic campaigns in these states in the Fall.  However, some of O'Malley's efforts might have been better spent in Maryland, as on Election Night, Nov. 4, the state witnessed one of the biggest upsets in the country when Republican Larry Hogan defeated Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown in the race to succeed O'Malley.  That would seem to be a serious blow to any presidential aspirations, but on Dec. 3, news organizations reported that O'Malley's PAC had hired Bill Hyers, a veteran campaign operative who managed Bill de Blasio's upset win for New York City Mayor, as senior advisor.

In Maryland, O'Malley highlighted at the top of his list of accomplishments the successful effort to raise the minimum wage; on May 5 he signed into law SB 331, a bill, which while watered down from his proposal in several respects, will increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 on July 1, 2018.  (He had proposed making the increase to $10.10 effective July 1, 2016 and having it indexed for inflation).  In summer as thousands of Central American children flooded the Southern border, O'Malley was among the more outspoken leaders advocating a humane approach.  "We are not a country should turn children away and send them back to certain death," he stated.  In a Sept. speech he noted that Maryland was "caring for more children, more refugee children from Central America, per capita than any other state in the union (+)." 
On Dec. 31, O'Malley rounded out the year commuting the death sentences of the last four inmates on death row.  In May 2013 he had signed into law a bill abolishing the death penalty.

- Gov. O'Malley, who is term-limited in 2014, has been most open among Democrats about his presidential aspirations.  In July 2012 he formed the O' Say Can You See PAC; through June 30, 2013 the PAC federal account raised $164,076 and spent $138,353 while the non-federal account raised $315,497; adding a small state-level account the total was a bit less than $500,000.  O'Malley also serves as finance chair of the Democratic Governors Association, which he chaired from 2010-12. 
O'Malley's presidential ambitions were on full display on the evening of Nov. 16, when he keynoted the New Hampshire Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Manchester.  A 3:34 introductory video
"Belief" reviewed O'Malley's accomplishments as mayor and governor in glowing terms.  In Baltimore, "a cauldron of crime, drugs and profound despair," O'Malley waged an "assault on hopelessness."  The video highlights O'Malley's emphasis on performance measurement and management, first through CitiStat and now with StateStat ("Things that get measured are things that get done...") and cites many areas where Maryland has excelled. 

Toward the end of the year, however, O'Malley ran into difficulties as the state's online health insurance exchange,
Maryland Health Connection, encountered problems similar to what happened at the federal level.  O'Malley moved to address the glitches, but the situation proved quite embarrassing to him and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, the point person on the exchange. 

One of O'Malley's strongest critics is Larry Hogan, seen as a leading Republican candidate for governor in 2014.  Hogan, a businessman who served in the Cabinet under Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich  from 2003-07, founded and chairs Change Maryland.  He charges that 40 O'Malley-Brown tax increases are leading to "increasing tax flight, continuing the small business exodus and large corporate headquarters relocating to other states."

Data-driven government
In his tenures as mayor and governor, O'Malley has emphasized performance measurement and management.  The StateState website, in addition to featuring reports with charts and maps from agencies across the Maryland government, shows progress Maryland has made toward 16 strategic goals set out by O'Malley in four areas: opportunity, security, sustainability and health.

This slide from O'Malley's Jan. 7, 2015 presentation at the Board of Public Works meeting lists four accomplishments he
frequently cites.

Early Articles
Ruby Cramer.  "Martin O'Malley Gets Aggressive."  BuzzFeed.  July 16, 2014.
John Briley.  "O'Malley on the Move."  Capitol File.  Summer 2013.
Haley Sweetland Edwards.  "Should Martin O'Malley Be President?"  Washington Monthly.  May/June 2013.
George Neumayr.  "O'Malley's Tin Whistle."  The American Spectator, Dec. 2012-Jan. 2013.
Office of Gov. Martin O'Malley
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  this page last revised November 23, 2015