Government

Martin O'Malley won't seek White House, urges Beto O'Rourke to run

He says voters are 'looking for a new leader who can bring us together'

Texas Democratic Beto O’Rourke speaks in April at a campaign stop in Texas. (Sergio Flores/Bloomberg)
Texas Democratic Beto O’Rourke speaks in April at a campaign stop in Texas. (Sergio Flores/Bloomberg)
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Washington Post

Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley said Thursday that he will not make a second bid for the White House and instead urged outgoing Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke to run for the Democratic nomination.

O’Malley, a Democrat who dropped out of the 2016 race after a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses, had sought to stay in the mix for 2020, launching a new political action committee and traveling to more than 30 states to campaign for candidates in the midterm elections. He helped campaign last fall for J.D. Scholten, who later lost to Rep. Steve King in Iowa’s 4th District.

In an op-ed published Thursday in the Des Moines Register, he argued that O’Rourke is the best candidate for the Democratic Party, borrowing some of his own catchphrases from his 2016 campaign.

“O’Rourke has the wisdom to listen, the courage to lead, and a rock-solid faith in the powerful goodness of our nation,” O’Malley wrote. “Because he is of a new generation, O’Rourke understands that a new way of governing — with openness, transparency, and performance — is called for to tackle our problems in the Information Age. And because he is from a border state, O’Rourke understands the enduring symbol of our country is not the barbed wire fence, it is the Statue of Liberty.”

O’Rourke, who lost a U.S. Senate race last year to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has said he is considering a White House bid but has not announced his intentions.

In the 2016 race, O’Malley struggled to gain traction against two better known and better funded candidates, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. He received only about .6 percent of the Democratic vote and quickly suspended his campaign.

In his piece in the Register, O’Malley said his bid “found its flame extinguished between a rock and an angry place in my own party.”

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“America wasn’t in the mood for new leadership,” he said. “We were in a mood of anger, rage and retribution. And in this mood, Donald Trump’s candidacy rose.”

O’Malley said the country is now in a different mood and is “looking for a new leader who can bring us together.”

“I will not be running for President in 2020, but I hope Beto O’Rourke does,” O’Malley said in a tweet promoting his op-ed. “It’s time for a new generation of leadership.

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