News & Politics

Martin O’Malley Had One Person Show Up to a Campaign Event

Photograph via iStock.

It’s tough being former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley these days. O’Malley, who often reminds Americans that he’s running for the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination, went on a four-city tour of Iowa on Monday, only to be met with painfully low turnout from potential caucus-goers. His final stop of the night, in the tiny burg of Tama, might have yielded the harshest picture yet of his straggling campaign: only one person showed up, and not even a guaranteed supporter.

The very last event of the night we had one person, but by God he was glad to see me,” O’Malley told MSNBC on Tuesday morning.

The single voter who showed up, whom an Iowa television station later identified as “Kenneth,” might not have been as thrilled as O’Malley claims—the former governor also told MSNBC he’s “working on” getting Kenneth’s support for the February 1 caucus, which kicks off the presidential-nominating process.

To be sure, Iowa has been pummeled by a major snowstorm which led other presidential candidates—including, Bloomberg Politics reports, Republicans Marco Rubio and Chris Christie—to cancel their scheduled events yesterday, but O’Malley plowed through. Still, he wasn’t forging ahead for much: a previous stop in the day in Webster City produced only five potential voters, while an appearance in Iowa Falls managed a whopping 12, according to the Des Moines Register.

But the unintended one-on-one meeting with Kenneth from Tama could go down as the platonic ideal of an O’Malley event. Vastly overshadowed by Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the only traction O’Malley has been capable of getting lately seems to be for his campaign’s lack of attention. He pulled just 3 percent of support of Democratic voters in a CNN poll last week (with margin of error of 3 percentage points), and got only 26 minutes of speaking time during a two-hour debate on December 19.

Maybe O’Malley should bust out another Taylor Swift cover?

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.