“I intend to run through this finish line and do everything I can to make these final 19, 20 months as effective as possible for the people I serve,” he said.
But asked if there’s anything he feels compelled to take to the legislature next year — in his eighth and final 90-day session — O’Malley said the question was premature.
“Off the top of my head, no, but give me a little time to rest,” he said, noting this year’s session ended barely two weeks ago. “Give me a little time to rest.”
The governor and his aides said much of his focus will now be on governing — work that doesn’t directly involve the legislature — including more direct engagement in StateStat, a program he pioneered that uses statistics to gauge the performance of state agencies. His implementation of a similar program while mayor of Baltimore was responsible for some of the first national attention O’Malley received.
Besides thinking about what’s best for Maryland, O’Malley said he will spend substantial time in coming months thinking more seriously about his future.
He said he plans to talk to “insightful people” and think more deeply about what issues are important to the country — a process that could result in a campaign agenda if he moves forward with a bid for the presidency.
“I’m pulling together the sort of policy framework that I think a campaign of any integrity would have in order to be worthy of the effort and ultimately successful at governing,” O’Malley said. He cited Bill Clinton’s efforts prior to his 1992 campaign as a model.
From a political standpoint, O’Malley already has plenty of accomplishments in Maryland to tout for Democratic primary voters if he chooses to move forward with a presidential bid, said Joe Trippi, a longtime Democratic strategist who managed Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign.
In November, just two months before this year’s General Assembly session began, O’Malley successfully defended two high-
profile measures that opponents had petitioned to the ballot box: the legalization of same-sex marriage and the extension of in-state tuition benefits to undocumented immigrants.
Several of his initiatives this year passed after falling short in previous years, including the death penalty repeal, the first increase in the state’s gas tax since 1992 and a bill intended to boost the state’s use of renewable energy by providing subsidies for an offshore wind farm.
“This last session in particular gave O’Malley plenty of accomplishments on top of what he already has,” Trippi said. “At some point, it becomes more important who you’re meeting in Iowa or New Hampshire than what one last thing you get done in Maryland.”