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Sun Jan 3, 2016, 06:31 PM

O’Malley: Thirty Days Out

After a busy week campaigning in Iowa five days and making every single one of his 12 stops (despite a snowstorm), Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley is finishing a strong start to the last month until the Iowa caucus. He’s hitting major cities like Des Moines, Waterloo, and Sioux City, where he’s turning out crowds of over 100 voters, as well as making time for smaller towns like Atlantic, Clarion, and the famous Tama stop on Monday. Even with the back-to-back events taking up more than 12 hours of his day, O’Malley seems to have the same energy as he did way back in May when he first started, as well as that same optimism that could be waning for many candidates in his low-polling position.

But how are voters receiving O’Malley with less than 30 days to go until the caucus?

Actually, extremely well.

I spoke to about a dozen Iowa caucus-goers (and one high school student who can’t vote until the next election) during O’Malley’s western Iowa swing on Saturday and discovered a majority of them either 100 percent support the former governor of Maryland, or are highly considering him as their second choice. Iowans no longer scratch their heads at the mention of O’Malley’s name - he’s got the name recognition (albeit slightly late in the game), as well as a core group that continues to rally on his behalf. It’s a tribute to the amount of time and energy O’Malley and his campaign have poured into the state-they moved staff from the Baltimore headquarters here a few months ago to put even more emphasis on his placement come February 1st.

The comments I heard from Iowa caucus-goers in Atlantic were positive and O’Malley seemed to resonate with the crowds with two starkly different demographics (Storm Lake’s crowd was a third Latino and mid-20s, while Atlantic’s gathering was nearly all middle-to-older-aged voters). Of note, more caucus cards were signed than any of the stops I’ve traveled to with the campaign, a sign that his support may not be at the latest polling of 3 percent. It should also be noted that a few of the people I spoke with remain undecided or could still be persuaded come caucus night - a good sign for the O’Malley camp as well.

“This is the first time that I’ve heard him speak, but I find him impressive,” said Jeni George of Atlantic. “He seems to be quite inspired to run for president. He’s way up there, but he’s just not my choice. I’m a Hillary fan, though my heart belongs to Bernie. I think that he is an excellent candidate, but I particularly like Hillary because she is tested in foreign policy. I just feel like she has the credentials to be able to run the country, and deal with the powers that be.”

Up in Storm Lake, the owner of Better Day Cafe, who cut his vacation short to open specifically for the O’Malley event, was also impressed by the Democrat.

“I really liked what he had to say, you know,” said Topiz Martinez. “I had never really heard much from him before his, and am actually a Bernie Sanders supporter, but after tonight, I am definitely going to check him out. He’s got good things to say and offer. I’m not committed to anyone right now, and am still waiting to hear more. But I think O’Malley is a really good speaker and seems very personable.”

Becky Bryant, also among the 40-plus crowd in Storm Lake, likened to O’Malley as well.

“I was truly impressed, mostly because he talked about what actions he had taken and how he did it, and what results he had gotten, and it wasn’t just a matter of being in government and going through the motions, sort of a ho-hum, we’ve got terrible problems, and sort of wringing their hands of doing nothing, there was just so many issues that he was there in Baltimore that he was able to rectify,” said Bryant. “That was truly impressive.”

Though George in Atlantic said she is a proud Clinton supporter, she also acknowledged that O’Malley would be a good face for the party.

“If Martin O’Malley ended up being the only candidate on the ticket, I would be ok with him,” said George. “Now, he’s much more personable in person. I never was impressed with him at the debates, because unfortunately he didn’t have much time to speak, but you know, when I look at him as a world citizen, I just feel like Hillary has the best credentials for doing all that. But, I wouldn’t blame anyone for supporting him.”

Phil Haskell, also of Atlantic, was all in for O’Malley, and would put Clinton third on his list on caucus night.

“I like him because he has executive experience,” said Haskell. “He’s strong on gun control, and he’s got things done in Maryland and Baltimore. He’s actually run a state, he’s run a city. I just don’t think we need establishment politics anymore. And you know, O’Malley is probably low in the polls because of Clinton and her big money. Or it could be because of the press coverage.”

Matthew, a 16-year-old high school student in Storm Lake, said though he liked O’Malley, he remains uncommitted (note: he cannot vote in 2016).

“I liked what he had to say, but I don’t know,” he said. “I just really came to see how he speaks and how he is in person. That’s what I’m really focused on, because a lot of these candidates can say one thing on TV and then when you meet them in person, they’re totally different. O’Malley seems like a good guy, but I’m not quite sold yet.”

Now, these conversations don’t necessarily mean O’Malley is about to surge to first place in Iowa or see a massive bump in the polls, but they do reflect that interest in him from Iowa caucus-goers - and that interest is not waning. Also, as a bonus, on my way home from Storm Lake on Saturday, I stopped to fuel up in Perry, a small town about 40 minutes from Des Moines, and talked to the two young gas station attendants (both male, probably in the their early 20’s, with piercings and tattoos). And even they had heard of O’Malley - one said he liked the former governor over Sanders and Clinton because of the most recent debate. Now that is pretty impressive.

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Reply O’Malley: Thirty Days Out (Original post)
elleng Jan 2016 OP
nashville_brook Jan 2016 #1
elleng Jan 2016 #2

Response to elleng (Original post)

Sun Jan 3, 2016, 06:37 PM

1. he can win this!!

go O'Malley go!

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Response to nashville_brook (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 3, 2016, 06:39 PM

2. :thumbsup:

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