Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley announced his intention Saturday to seek the 2016 Democratic nomination with a speech in Baltimore. O’Malley enters the race to the political left of Hillary Clinton, hoping to capture the progressive mantle.
Report from CNN:
Martin O’Malley launched his presidential campaign Saturday with an appeal to the party’s progressive base that he hopes will upend the conventional wisdom that Hillary Clinton is destined to clinch the Democratic nomination.
The former Maryland governor unveiled his campaign in Baltimore, the city where he was once mayor — a role that is central to his political persona. But his Baltimore credentials could become more of a challenge than he initially thought after a riot erupted in the city in April.
Speaking in rolled-up sleeves at Federal Hill Park, O’Malley began with a call for economic fairness and closing the gap between rich and poor in America.
“This is the urgent work calling us forward today: to rebuild the truth of the American Dream for all Americans,” O’Malley said. “And to begin right now.”
He touched upon last month’s unrest in Baltimore, saying the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death was about more than race or policing in America, but about “the scourge of hopelessness” in the nation’s cities.
“There is something to be learned from that night, and there is something to be offered to our country from those flames,” he said.
A small group of protesters tried to interrupt his speech, shouting remarks like “black lives matter” and blowing on whistles. As O’Malley discussed the problem of income inequality and concentration of wealth, one protester angrily yelled out: “You did that! It was you!”
But the protesters largely failed to be a disruptive presence at the launch event, where O’Malley’s supporters, numbering in the hundreds, reacted enthusiastically to his speech.
Video of O’Malley’s announcement:
O’Malley’s announcement was not without some controversy as protesters hurled insults and attempted to disrupt the speech, but were ultimately unsuccessful. Report on that from the Daily Beast:
Small groups of young people, in clusters of two and three, could be found at every turn in Federal Hill Park in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor on Saturday morning. They were holding signs: “F*** the police,” “Stop killer cops,” “NOMALLEY.” And they were shouting loudly: “You only care about money, O’Malley, you don’t care about the people! You lie!” and “700,000 arrests under your watch, O’Malley!”
But this was not a protest. Saturday’s event was, in fact, intended as a celebration of Martin O’Malley, who took to the stage beneath the unmerciful sun to formally declare his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president.
Things didn’t go as smoothly as the campaign might’ve hoped.
Some of the recent unrest in the city of Baltimore is aimed at policing tactics which began under the watch of O’Malley during his tenure as mayor. As a result, he’s facing some backlash given that the city was under his control from 1999 to 2007.