News & Politics

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley Starts His Presidential Machine

O’Malley might be overshadowed by Hillary Clinton, but he’s the only future candidate with HBO credentials.

O'Malley's health-care exchange might be way down in the hole, but his aspirations aren't. Photograph via Maryland Governor's Office.

With his time in Annapolis running down, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley finally made public what everyone has assumed for years: He’s going to run for President in 2016. In an interview published over the weekend by the Washington Post, O’Malley says he has started meeting with foreign policy experts and other wonky types to start the prep work.

Despite former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s increasing aura of inevitability, O’Malley says he feels pulled toward the 2016 election. “I have a great deal of respect for Hillary Clinton,” he tells the Post. “But for my own part, I have a responsibility to prepare and to address the things that I feel a responsibility to address.”

In other words, he’s tired of waiting for Clinton to declare—or was running in any event. In the past year, he has been at the foreground of several policy fights, scoring victories in getting Maryland to recognize same-sex marriage and adopt some of the nation’s strictest gun laws. He’s also taken those requisite trips to New Hampshire and Iowa.

But even in endearing himself to the left, O’Malley still faces a big Clinton problem. He’s not terribly well known outside his home state, and even in Maryland, voters prefer Clinton by a 7-to-1 ratio, according to a poll taken last March. He is also struggling with a fairly disastrous rollout of Maryland’s health-care exchange, which is plagued by technical glitches and low enrollment.

Still, O’Malley has one accomplishment that no other presidential candidate can brag about: He’ll be the only one to inspire a character on the HBO series The Wire. The show’s Tommy Carcetti goes from the Baltimore City Council to mayor to the governor’s mansion by the series’s end, mirroring O’Malley’s political career.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.