For O’Malley, a lot riding on Iowa in 2016 campaign

(Of course if Hillary Clinton did drop out, or completely crater, you’d likely see Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren get in.). In the face of such daunting odds, O’Malley’s best bet isn’t to throw bombs, but to burnish his brand as the kind of candidate who’d be an ideal frontrunner-if it weren’t for the Clinton phenomenon.

Martin O’Malley is adding to his Iowa staff as he prepares to travel to Davenport on Saturday, part of a two-stop visit to the state.

The New York Times reported that O’Malley is getting ready to throw his hat in the ring as a candidate for president for 2016. He’s a governor of a smaller state, he’s youthful, he’s centrist and he’s got that retail political charm. He eventually supported a successful move to legalize same-sex marriage.

On the campaign trail, he adopts populist rhetoric, warning that without “sensible rebalancing” of wealth, there will be “pitchforks-lots of them”. He’s said that he bought O’Malley his first “legal beer” on his 21st birthday. There’s just not that much space for him. He may be – well, he’s as leftist as Obama is and as the Clintons are, so there’s no loss if they go to O’Malley in that regard. So far in May, the city has recorded 36 homicides, its deadliest month since December 1999, when O’Malley was sworn in as mayor.

His fortunes probably depend on controversy tripping Mrs. Clinton. Joe Biden, Al Gore, and George H.W. Bush all wound up on their party’s ticket after running unsuccessfully for the nomination. Taking a firm position on the upcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership, or any trade deal, might lead to the kind of controversy Clinton is obviously hoping to avoid.

Even so, he also battles Sen. O’Malley is a “moderate liberal” on issues, to Clinton’s “hardcore liberal”, according to the ratings of OnTheIssues.org. Bernie Sanders. One grandfather was a Pittsburgh ward boss, the other a party chairman of an Indiana county. But his emphasis on fairness and human dignity, as opposed to predictable political positioning, was refreshing.

But if that’s true, which it may not be, it’s because O’Malley has fundamentally misread the status quo in Democratic politics, and imagines a potential parallel between the 2008 and 2016 elections that doesn’t exist at the moment.

Republican candidates have worked to engage the Latino community, with Sen. Hart was a major underdog against former Vice President Walter Mondale and struggled in a large field of Democrats. The couple have four children. He was elected to the city council at 28. John Pica in the Democratic primary.

Under Mr. O’Malley, arrests rose and crime fell. Just how successful his policies were in cutting the crime rate is open to debate. Davis traces the death of Freddie Gray, who suffered a fatal injury in police custody, to O’Malley’s policies. O’Malley signed the law and then defended it when opponents sought unsuccessfully to overturn the measure with a statewide referendum.

Mondale won the Iowa caucuses handily.

He may find an audience.

Before an April event in Indianola, Iowa, retiree Twila Glenn told Mr. O’Malley she was glad to see him on the national stage.

Yet most Americans draw a blank with O’Malley.

Now, her heresies and inexperience are ancient history.

At the pizza place last week, Mr. O’Malley appeared relaxed and upbeat, chatting with a foot perched on the next seat. And O’Malley has said that the situation in Baltimore “has to be central” to his presidential campaign. “Not nearly enough,” Mr. O’Malley replied.

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