For quite a while, former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley has been relatively quiet regarding the leading Democratic contender for President, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. That appears to be changing, at least according to an article in The Hill this morning.
A handful of Democrats are mulling a challenge to Hillary Clinton for the party's presidential nomination, but only one is showing his teeth.
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) took a shot at the likely frontrunner on Sunday, appearing to accept the role of lone Democratic insurgent.
“Let’s be honest here,” he said on ABC’s "This Week." “The presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families.”
For a Democratic race largely devoid of conflict, the barb was a surprise. Potential challengers to Clinton have steered clear of publicly challenging the former secretary of State.
O’Malley’s swipe was a mild one – he didn’t mention Clinton by name and his fire also was also directed at former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R). However, Democrats see it as a clear sign that he’s moving into the next stage of his potential campaign.
“It was a calculated shot at Hillary, so I think it was a sign he’s seriously looking at this thing,” said Democratic strategist Brad Bannon….
He has failed so far to attract much buzz inDemocratic circles despite repeated visits to early-voting states and years building up chits with party members.
However, many Democrats say that could change if O'Malley continues to go after Clinton and fills the vacuum for a token challenger. The media attention could provide critical oxygen to his budding campaign, and potentially give him the national name recognition that he currently lacks.
“A third of the Democratic electorate would like to see a challenger, and all of the media would love to cover the campaign,” said Purple Strategies CEO Steve McMahon.
“But you need a candidate willing to engage in order to make that happen. What we saw this weekend for the first time was a Democratic candidate willing to engage and throw an elbow, if not a punch, and let everybody know that he’s still a potential candidate.”
O'Malley's comment was relatively mild as far as attack lines go, but it does suggest he plans on being more than just a speed bump to the Clinton campaign.