O'Malley weighing 2016 White House bid

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) said he’s considering a run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 — and will spend the latter half of this year focusing on whether a White House bid is feasible. 

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O’Malley, a former Baltimore mayor who has been the subject of presidential speculation for years, said he’s “occasionally mentioned” alongside Hillary Clinton and Vice President Biden as a potential 2016 contender because of his legislative achievements. 

“By the second half of this year, I need to be spending a lot more energy and time giving serious consideration and preparation to what if anything I might have to offer should I decide to run for president in 2016,” O’Malley, 50, told the Baltimore Sun’s editorial board on Wednesday. 

“The primary reason I think that my name has been mentioned occasionally in the company of such greats as Hillary Clinton, great public servants such as Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden is because of the accomplishments that we’ve had and the effectiveness that we’ve had through two administrations here in Baltimore and also at the state,” O’Malley added. 

“And so over the course and especially the latter half of this year, I need to properly allocate the attention, the time, the thought power, the brain power necessary to give the serious consideration to that weighty responsibility that it deserves.”

O’Malley, who is serving his second term as governor, just completed a legislative session in Annapolis that included passage of a new gun law that imposes some of the toughest restrictions in the nation. 

The bill mandates fingerprinting for people purchasing handguns, bans dozens of types of semi-automatic rifles and imposes a 10-round limit on magazines.

That gun bill and other legislation approved during O'Malley's administration — including the legalization of gay marriage and the approval of in-state tuition to young illegal immigrants — are highly popular among Democratic primary voters. 

O’Malley also touts Maryland’s decision to repeal the death penalty and the imposition of higher gasoline taxes to pay for transportation infrastructure as achievements that could endear him to Democrats. 

“For the last 90 days I’ve been very much focused and very much absorbed with the very difficult things that we had to get done in this session,” O’Malley told the Sun

But O’Malley, though well known in Democratic circles, has a low national profile. 

A survey by Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling earlier this month found O’Malley with just 1 percent support among Democrats for the 2016 nomination. 

O’Malley was viewed favorably by 10 percent of those polled, and unfavorably by 12 percent. But fully 78 percent of voters weren’t sure. 

Clinton led the poll with 64 percent support among Democrats, while Biden was second with 18 percent. 

The PPP poll found Clinton also tops several major potential GOP contenders, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. 

Biden led all the Republican contenders except Christie in the poll.