BALTIMORE (AP) — Here’s a snapshot of things to know about former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who announced Saturday in Baltimore that he was running for the Democratic presidential nomination:
The liberal O’Malley has long been eyeing a presidential run. With a zest for campaigning, the telegenic 52-year-old has been an early and frequent visitor to early primary states, sometimes picking up an acoustic guitar he plays in his Celtic rock band while trying to win over young voters. O’Malley reclaimed the governorship for Democrats in 2006 by defeating Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich with 53 percent of the vote. Despite leading a charge for tax increases approved by Maryland’s Legislature in his first year as governor, O’Malley defeated Ehrlich again in a 2010 rematch and by a greater margin. Democrats lost the governorship in Maryland last year, however, in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by 2-1. This, after more tax increases in his second term. O’Malley enters the Democratic primary as a longshot with limited name recognition.
Despite a tenure marked by financial challenges of the Great Recession, O’Malley points to a productive eight years as governor. Some of O’Malley’s biggest legislative accomplishments were a minimum wage increase, a repeal of the death penalty and a sweeping gun-control measure. He also successfully led pushes to raise taxes to build infrastructure and protect the Chesapeake Bay. O’Malley backed a bill to allow same-sex marriage, which lawmakers passed and voters approved in 2012. He also kept record amounts of money going to education despite the tough times. Before he became governor, he served two terms as Baltimore’s mayor. After years of 300-plus murders in Baltimore annually, the number dropped under 300 in each of his years as mayor. However, riots in Baltimore after the police-custody death of Freddie Gray in April brought new scrutiny on O’Malley’s “zero tolerance” law enforcement policies.
O’Malley was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in its Maryland suburbs. His father, Thomas, was a criminal defense attorney in Rockville, Maryland. His mother, Barbara, has worked as a receptionist for Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski for more than 25 years. O’Malley is a Catholic who graduated from Catholic University. He has a law degree from the University of Maryland. O’Malley met his wife, Catherine Curran O’Malley, while they were in law school, when O’Malley was working on Mikulski’s Senate campaign. They married in 1990. They have four children, Grace, Tara, William and Jack.
CALLING CARD MOMENT
O’Malley was a fresh-faced 36-year-old when he won his first term as Baltimore’s mayor in 1999. Some questioned whether the white Baltimore City Councilman could win in the predominantly black city, but O’Malley defeated two well-known black candidates in the Democratic primary with 53 percent of the vote. He won the general election in the heavily Democratic city with 91 percent of the vote. The victory in 1999 made him the youngest big-city mayor at the time. O’Malley won re-election in 2004, and he became known for a data-tracking management tool to measure performance in government.
CLINTON SUPPORTER, NOW OPPONENT
O’Malley has had a long and supportive relationship with Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, the dominant figure in the Democratic primary who will now be O’Malley’s opponent. O’Malley was one of the first governors to endorse Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid. The Clintons raised money for O’Malley’s 2006 re-election campaign for governor. Bill Clinton stopped in an airport to tape an endorsement of his “good friend” after O’Malley aides pleaded for one.
EARLY STATE ACTION
O’Malley has made repeated trips in recent years to the early-nominating states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Iowa was set to be his first stop after his announcement later Saturday, with New Hampshire next, on Sunday.
O’Malley has talked about writing a book on “the new way of governing” he brought to Baltimore.
ONLINE AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/martin.malley.10
Super PAC: http://generationforwardpac.org/
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