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Martin O’Malley appears closer to challenging Hillary Clinton

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With Hillary Clinton‘s email issues dominating national political press coverage, more than a few Democrats are pondering the fact that so far, they don’t have a backup plan if her candidacy goes astray.

But that might be changing soon.

Today on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley discussed his vision of the future, as well as his attributes that would make him an attractive candidate if he decides to run in 2016.

“Most years there’s the inevitable front runner, and then the inevitable front runner is inevitable right up until he or she is no longer inevitable,” he said in response to how hard it might be to challenge Mrs. Clinton. “I think you’re going to see a robust conversation in the Democratic Party about how we restore our middle class and middle class opportunity.”

When asked if he was going to make a serious run, he said that he learned back on student council at Gonzaga University that you don’t win elections unless you’re committed to win them. “So I would be running not only to win, but to govern well, to make the case to the people of our country that there are better choices that we can make together that can make wages go up and make college more affordable for our kids again.”

O’Malley’s roots are in Baltimore, where he served on the City Council from 1991 to 1999. He was then elected to two terms as mayor there from 1999-2007, before becoming Maryland governor for eight years.

On MSNBC, he said that while there’s a lot of cynicism about government, he doesn’t find that to be the case when people talk about their local representation.

“One of the things that I’ve been struck by traveling around the country is how much people generally feel about how they’re cities are being run. And the fact that they actually have governments that are personally responsive, that can be performance measured. So part of it is that, a part of is healing our democracy and reining in the influence of big money, and a part of it is continuing to talk with one another about the only things that we can do together, like wage policies that actually restore that connection between working harder and being able to get ahead, the opportunity to get ahead.”

He showed little interest in criticizing Clinton about the email controversy, which has dominated the news for the past two weeks in Washington. “People don’t care so much about email policies. It’s important that you ask, it’s important that we be as open and transparent as possible. But it’s not the issue that’s going to restore our economy.”

“I supported Secretary Clinton back in 2008. I have tremendous admiration for her,” he said later when asked about how he could run up against the dream for many Democrats of electing the first woman president of the United States. The only time when he appeared to take a shot at her during the interview was when he made an allusion to Wall Street.

“Some people in our party are promoting some sort of ‘Dodd-Frank lite.’ We don’t want to offend anybody on Wall Street, so let us not talk honestly about how we can rein in this sort of excessive behavior,” he said, adding that one thing he’d do if elected president was reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, the 1933 law that required banks to keep their commercial and investment activities separate. The law was repealed with President Clinton’s backing in 1999, which allowed banks to make risky bets with depositor money.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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