By Ray O’Hanlon
Strike Martin O’Malley from the Genghis Khan-size horde of Democratic presidential wannabes.
The former governor of Maryland has ruled out another bid in 2020 and has instead indicated his support for Texas congressman and defeated Senate contender, Beto O’Rourke.
The Hill newspaper was reporting today that O’Malley, who ran for the Democratic nomination in 2016, had “quashed speculation” of a possible second run at the White House next year.
In an op-ed published by the Des Moines Register, O’Malley said that he “will not be running for president in 2020.”
And he wrote of O’Rourke: “In his courageous run for U.S. Senate in Texas, O’Rourke ran a disciplined and principled campaign that also managed to be raw, authentic, and real He spoke to the American values of honesty, compassion for one another, and courage in the face of a rapidly changing future.
“These are the values which tell us where America is headed. And with these values, O’Rourke very nearly defeated the incumbent senator and Republican runner-up for president – in Texas.”
O’Malley’s op-ed, the Hill opined, threw cold water on speculation that he could mount a second bid for the presidency after his 2016 campaign for the Democratic nomination failed to gain traction.
“He dropped out of that race after a disappointing finish in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses.
Since then, he’s spent considerable time campaigning on behalf of Democratic candidates nationwide, fueling chatter that a second presidential run could be in his future.”
But despite efforts to grow his national profile, the report added that O’Malley had “largely failed to gain the kind of prominence that prospective candidates, like O’Rourke or former Vice President Joe Biden, have.”
In an email to supporters on Thursday, O’Malley said that he had determined that his “usefulness as a candidate for President has passed.”
He said: “I’m proud of the substance and vision we put forward in 2016 and the record of progress from 15 years of executive experience, but – after all we have been through as a nation – America is looking for a candidacy newer than I can offer.”
In the op-ed O’Malley praised O’Rourke - who has been indicating interest in a 2020 bid without declaring one - saying that the Texan represented a “new generation” of leadership capable of tackling issues like climate change and immigration reform.
"Like so many other Americans, I believe we need new leadership to make that future a reality. And, I believe the new leader who can best bring us together and turn us around to create that better American future, is Beto O’Rourke."
That O’Malley is stepping up for a fellow Democrat is nothing new.
Since he failed to secure his party’s nomination in 2016, wasn’t chosen by Hillary Clinton as a vice presidential partner, and following Donald Trump’s victory, O’Malley threw wn himself into every other election of consequence and, in not a few cases, of no apparent consequence at all.
In the past two years O’Malley has been something akin to a political jack-in-the-box for his party, popping up here, there and everywhere in support of candidates running for every office ever heard of, and one or two that yet elude the political science lexicon.
And there are the emails.
They begin with the same word every time: “Friend.”
And what follows can be this: “While Republicans continue to tear away at our social fabric, I will continue to travel across the country and campaign for pro-health care Democrats. Yesterday, I was in Ohio raising money for state and local Democrats, and this Monday, I will fly to Dallas, Texas to keynote their annual Democratic Party dinner…Chin up, Eyes forward!”
Or this: “I want to follow up with my email from yesterday to let you know that I will be traveling to South Carolina this Saturday to help elect Archie Parnell to Congress! This is a major chance for our Party to flip a Republican seat to Democratic control. The seat was held by Democrats up until 2010 – and polls show the race tightening as we speak! Can I count on you to chip in another $3 for Archie?”
About a year ago the Five Thirty Eight website and New York Times were guessing another O’Malley push for the White House, this based on the man’s travels and statements.
Those travels and statements by a politician who has governed a state and has fronted a Celtic Rock band by the name of O’Malley’s March may well continue - only now for another politician whose name begins with a capital O.