In case you haven’t heard, Martin O’Malley is looking at challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democrats’ nomination next year. (And judging by the media coverage, you may not have heard unless your last name is O’Malley.) Another thing to be aware of when it comes to O’Malley is that he is a former governor of Maryland and mayor of Baltimore, so when the riots broke out this was clearly an appropriate place for him to show up and comment. Or at least somebody on his staff seemed to think so. But as it turned out, not all of the residents were ready to spread out the welcome mat and stroll down memory lane with him.
Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley was heckled on a packed street corner in West Baltimore Tuesday, after he cut short a trip to Europe to return to the city he led as mayor for seven years.
O’Malley (D), who is preparing to launch a White House bid, waded into a crowd near the burned-out shell of a CVS pharmacy that was destroyed and looted Monday night. He was confronted by two men on motorcycles who shouted expletives and blamed the recent violence in the city on O’Malley’s tough-on-crime policies from 1999 to 2007…
“F— that, this is his fault!” screamed a man who followed along on a red motorcycle as O’Malley and the crowd that surrounded him moved down the street. “Do you know who he is? Why would you shake his hand?”
In an interview with the Post, the man identified himself as Wayne Grady, and said he was a housing developer who has lived in Baltimore all of his 47 years. “He had his chance to fix this,” Grady said of O’Malley. “He’s part of the frustrations that are built up in these black young men.”
Plenty of people were quick to pile on. Former RNC chairman Michael Steele (a former Maryland Lt. Governor) said that O’Malley had contributed to “a poisoned atmosphere” in the city. If this is how they talk about Democrats just imagine how the new governor will be treated when this is finally over.
The good news for O’Malley is that this outing probably won’t hurt his poll numbers very much. As of the latest three sets of survey results, he’s actually trailing the margin of error by three. It’s not shocking that Hillary is more than 60 points ahead of him, but he’s at least ten behind a woman who has nearly promised to sacrifice a buffalo to prove she’s not running, and he trails by four points behind a guy who has openly declared himself to be a socialist. The only poll I could find where O’Malley actually leads anyone is this Qunnipiac survey where he edges out Jim Webb by a single point.
I wonder if O’Malley has considered a third party run? At this point, even if Hillary were to bow to the winds of scandal and drop out it’s difficult to picture him surging to any sort of come from behind victory.