MARTIN O’MALLEY, the former governor of Maryland, will announce today that he is seeking the Democratic nomination for the US presidency.
O’Malley will add an unmistakeable Irish flavour to the race, attempting to beat his long-time friend an ally Hilary Clinton.
O’Malley’s Irish heritage can be traced back to his great-grandparents who, he said, came from the west of Ireland. His Dad’s family, he told TheJournal.ie last year, are “100 per cent Irish people” while his mother’s family are half German.
He had been slow to add his name to the ticket, telling the New York Times in October he was “considering” a run.
Today, in Baltimore, he made it official.
Here’s what you need to know about him:
He’s really Irish.
O’Malley’s Irishness is not a ploy to win voters. He has a Celtic rock band called O’Malley’s March. Here they are playing the White House on St Patrick’s Day 2012:
He is a Democratic dream, but has “sticking problems”
Unashamedly liberal, East Coast, handsome and able to deliver a key demographic, O’Malley should be a slam dunk.
However, despite his high media profile, he has not been able to form a lasting impression among many voters and lacks the gravitas of Clinton or Obama. He’s been polling around 1% or 2% of support among Democratic primary voters.
His state work will inform his national platform
In Maryland, O’Malley ended the death penalty, imposed stricter gun controls, legalised gay marriage, raised the minimum wage and gave college tuition to children of immigrants.
These are all liberal pet-projects and will allow him to run at Clinton from the left, where he will be joined by Bernie Sanders.
Expect to see him take similar, if softer, lines in a national debate.
He wants to take on banks
The Democratic primary will feature financial regulation as a heavy motif. Opponents of Clinton will try to paint her as a soft touch for Wall Street.
In an op-ed for the Iowa newspaper Des Moines Register, O’Malley called for the reinstatement of the repealed Glass-Steagall Act, repealed in 1999, under Bill Clinton. Proponents of the law say that, had it been in place, it would have avoided the financial crash of 2008.
The op-ed called for the jailing of senior bankers and CEOs.
He’s a “middle-class” Democrat
O’Malley has consistently espoused the virtues of building a vibrant middle class. He said last month:
A strong middle class is the source of sustained economic growth and generational prosperity.
Coming from a tough city that saw revitalisation through a middle class resurgence, O’Malley will play this tune a lot.
He’s a long shot
He’s listed as a 25/1 shot for the top job, according to Paddy Power. But, now that he’s officially in, that could start to come down.
But, even if he’s beaten, he could make a running mate for Clinton.