When the clock strikes 12 midnight on Monday, Governor Martin O’Malley will ride off into the sunset as far as legislative sessions. He will still be Governor through January 2015 but he will mostly govern through the Board of Public Works in regards to everyday business. In the interim, he will help his Lt. Governor, Anthony Brown, campaign for his job.
It’s no secret that O’Malley is possibly exploring a presidential run in 2016. Based on the timeline for the last two cycles, he will likely be starting as soon as he leaves office. However, I have to ask will the governor’s record in Maryland play nationally?
Before he claims the nomination, he has to get through the primary which does not look all too promising based on polling that has him not registering on any level. Black Democrats in particular will want to know why O’Malley, while mayor of Baltimore, embraced zero tolerance as a crime fighting strategy and later suggested a return to those days as a way to combat a spike in crime last summer.
His accomplishments are on par with would be challengers – passing same-sex marriage, pushing for higher taxes in general but on the wealthiest in particular, spending more on school construction and holding the line on tuition at state colleges and universities for a period of time. That will not be enough, however.
O’Malley will need to find a way to stand out and prove that he can beat whichever nominee the Republicans will choose. With the national exposure that he embraced – especially as leader of the Democratic Governors Association – by appearing on the Sunday morning talk circuit and on the cable networks, it feels weird saying that.