CEDAR RAPIDS — As a Democratic presidential hopeful, Martin O’Malley visited 77 Iowa counties in the run-up to the 2016 first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses.
Now, the former Maryland governor is coming back — not for himself, but to raise funds for Iowa Senate incumbents up for re-election.
“My mantra is if we’re ever going to govern this country again, we have to win back the states,” O’Malley said about the Democratic Party. So he’s been to 18 states this year, including key states like New Hampshire and Florida, and now he’s headed to Iowa.
After campaigning in 19 states for Hillary Clinton, “I never stopped helping the Democratic Party come back after a really disappointing loss in the fall,” O’Malley said. “One thing I know for sure is that none of us can afford to go silent.”
O’Malley sees an exciting year ahead for Iowa politics with 15 Senate seats up for grabs in addition to the governor’s race. As he’s campaigned around the country in special election campaigns — including helping Jim Lykam and Monica Kurth get elected to the Iowa Senate and House, respectively, O’Malley has sensed voters want a “course correction.”
“My hunch is the general public doesn’t like extremism and people are reflecting a lot more deeply about their politics” since the election of President Donald Trump, O’Malley said.
So, he will do fundraisers for Senate Minority Leader Rob Hogg, and Sens. Lykam and Rita Hart at 11 a.m. Saturday at Jersey Grille Sports Bars in Davenport, and at 4 p.m. at Timber Lanes in Maquoketa for Sen. Tod Bowman.
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At noon Sunday, he’ll be at Rocky O’Brien’s in North Liberty for Sen. Kevin Kinney.
O’Malley also plans to speak at the Dubuque Democratic Party Hall of Fame dinner at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque.
O’Malley, 54, who is teaching at University of Maryland and advising technology companies, doesn’t rule out putting his name on the ballot in the future.
“The things we stood for, the things my campaign was about are still the truthful and needed messages our country is looking for,” he said.
However, he added, it’s too early to make a decision about 2020 or beyond.
“What all of us learn to do in life is to do the very next good thing,” he explained. “The good thing I have to offer is to help people in the arena in these times, for these midterms.
“How these midterms go will determine how our country goes,” O’Malley said.
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