Meet The Next Democrat Who Wants To Take On Hillary

Photo: Owen Sweeney/REX Shutterstock.
Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley is the latest candidate to jump into the race for President, when he announced his campaign at a rally in Baltimore on Saturday. "The American Dream seems for so many of us to be hanging by a thread," O'Malley said in his official announcement, pledging to close "a growing gap of injustice in our country."

The 52-year-old Democrat has been talking about running for months, and now he joins Bernie Sanders in the fight to challenge the conventional wisdom that Hillary Clinton has the party nomination in the bag months before the first primary.

Just like Sanders, O'Malley faces a difficult uphill battle to cut into Clinton's lead, but unlike Sanders, there aren't as many clear differences between him and the former Secretary of State. O'Malley also wants to challenge Clinton from the left, but he's not as well known as Sanders for bold populism.

He does have a record that includes some very positive accomplishments: As Governor, he abolished the death penalty in Maryland, and he raised the minimum wage to $10.10, legalized gay marriage, and passed stronger gun regulations.

While O'Malley's time as Governor gives him some leverage to keep the campaign focused on progressive issues, some of his work as Mayor of Baltimore is going to haunt him. O'Malley and Clinton have both supported "tough on crime" policies in the past, and some residents, raw from the police killing of Freddie Gray, are still angry enough about his policing policies that they prepared to protest his campaign announcement.

Will O'Malley's entry into the race shake things up, or will he just add some more noise to the debate over healthcare, income inequality, poverty, and criminal justice reform? Sanders' outspoken Socialist perspective already guaranteed that Clinton will have to defend her more conservative views or move to the left. O'Malley may not shake things up — he's a mainstream Democrat from a smaller, East Coast state — but he's got a long enough, solid enough record to provide an alternative for voters who aren't into Clinton and are a little freaked out by Sanders. Whether that gets him anywhere is another matter.

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