Smith: O'Malley Is Lucky Maryland Isn't Early-Primary State

Oct 16, 2014

Governor Martin O'Malley.
Credit Governor Martin O'Malley (MD) taken by chesbayprogram via flickr

Martin O’Malley surely gets glowing introductions as he tours presidential testing sites. Good for him that Maryland’s not on his list. For a governor who helped guide Maryland through the Great Recession with minimal damage, his standing among this state’s voters is less than anemic.

He takes solid story with him on the road:

A record of sound fiscal management. One of the best public school systems in the nation. An array of social issue triumphs from gay marriage to gun control and repeal of the death penalty.

And yet, here in blue Maryland, voters give him little if any love. 

In a recent Baltimore Sun poll, O’Malley’s presidential travels were endorsed by only 14 percent of the respondents. Six in ten were thumbs down on the idea.

I’m guessing many people answer based on their financial circumstances. Like the rest of the nation, they’ve had no pay increases for 15 years or so. Not his fault. But he’s handy.

On the other side of the scale, of course, taxes have gone up – 40 straight times, a current gubernatorial candidate intones. He gets the blame there too.

To escape the recession largely unscathed and to maintain its public school system, O’Malley did preside over a number of tax increases. Of course, he may be suffering from voter fatigue. His earlier muscle shirt, rock star charisma is all but gone.

He’s also been absent campaigning for a considerable part of his second term. There’s no measurable suggestion of damage to the state. But if people are unhappy about the economy they may feel he should be in Annapolis demanding ideas for relieving the stress.

Some people, no doubt, feel he’s bailed on them. So guess what they’re doing?

Your comments welcome at fsmith@wypr.org.