The Corner

Elections

That Guy You Barely Remember from 2016 Won’t Run in 2020

To the disappointment of . . . well, probably someone, somewhere, former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley says he will not run for president in 2020.

Instead, he virtually sends a resume to Beto O’Rourke, declaring, “I hope Beto O’Rourke does. It’s time for a new generation of leadership.” Perhaps he dreams of a “Double O” ticket: O’Rourke-O’Malley 2020: They’ll get your Irish up.

Credit O’Malley for some self-awareness — he had virtually no impact on the 2016 Democratic presidential primary and he wouldn’t have an easier time in a more crowded field this cycle. At one point in the last cycle, he started to carve out a niche as the Democrat who was willing to forcefully criticize frontrunner Hillary Clinton — warning about her ties to big banks, flip-flopping, preference for vague generalities, and saying there were “legitimate questions” about her private e-mail server. Alas, on the debate stage, O’Malley took a much gentler tone.

His record as mayor of Baltimore and governor of Maryland was pretty bad under thorough examination. By the end of 2014, one of the most heavily Democratic states in the country was willing to elect a Republican, Larry Hogan. Nothing had changed since 2016 to make O’Malley a more appealing candidate to Democratic primary voters.

No O’Malley bid in 2020 is probably good news for taxpayers, either. Because he agreed to spending limits and accepted federal matching funds, his short-lived presidential campaign cost American taxpayers about $1 million.

On January 20, 2016, the FEC sent O’Malley for President a check for $846,365.09.  On February 1, O’Malley suspended his campaign after a dismal showing in the Iowa caucuses. By year’s end, the FEC had given his short-lived campaign a bit more than $1 million. The campaign went on to spend $343,638.92 in 2016, according to FEC data — mostly settling bills for accounting, legal, printing, and consulting expenses. The good news is that O’Malley didn’t stiff his vendors. The bad news is your tax dollars helped settle the books.

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