- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has been holding off an announcement on his White House intent: He’s been waiting, along with several other Democratic potential candidates, for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to decide to run and either free up or grab up key campaign contributor dollars.

But now the Maryland Democrat seems to be shrugging off Mrs. Clinton’s shadow and taking actual steps toward the higher office. And at least one Democratic strategist said that’s a mistake — that the governor may be better off waiting on the former first lady and keeping open his chances to be her vice presidential pick.

In April, Mr. O’Malley reportedly held a closed-door meeting with political compadres and told them that he spoke with Mrs. Clinton, and that she gave him the thumbs-up he needed to make his own White House decision, Politico reported. Since, Mr. O’Malley has been seen visiting several crucial primary states, campaigning for fellow Democrats and simultaneously making friends with those who may one day help his career.

“He’s making a concrete effort now,” said Michael Stratton, one of the attendees of the April meeting and a presidential campaign strategist from Colorado, Politico reported. “He has to put a marker down at this time if he is going to be in this conversation.”

Several others at the April meeting said the Mr. O’Malley is doing just that — sniffing out a White House campaign trail, despite the lack of funding from those who are still awaiting a decision from Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. O’Malley’s office denies that’s his current strategy.

“Anyone who left the meeting with that impression is mistaken,” said the governor’s spokeswoman, Elisabeth Smith, Politico reported. “The governor hasn’t made any decisions about his next steps and certainly did not voice any that day.” She also said that her boss hasn’t really made secret his desire to run for the presidency.

“Governor O’Malley has repeatedly said that he is looking at the possibility of running for president in 2016,” Ms. Smith said, Politico reported. “The sensible thing is to be prepared for that possibility, and that’s what he’s trying to do.”

Among the states Mr. O’Malley has recently visited: New Hampshire, Iowa, and just last week, South Carolina. Politico reported he’s also gone to Wisconsin, California and Nevada and has plans to visit Maine, Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania in coming weeks.

Meanwhile, at least one other Democratic strategist said Mr. O’Malley may be making a mistake by appearing too eager.

“I think he is an attractive candidate in general, but in terms of Hillary Clinton, Martin should not run if Hillary runs,” said former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, in Politico. “He would be better off being a loyal soldier. He actually would fit the demographic well as a vice president to Hillary.”

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