O'Malley Expected To Back Clinton

By John Wagner
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) will become this morning the second sitting governor to endorse Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) for president and will be named the state chairman of her campaign, according to sources familiar with the announcement.

O'Malley, a former Baltimore mayor who was sworn in as governor in January, has been signaling his support for Clinton for weeks. In a radio appearance in late March, he said he was "very much inclined to support" Clinton.

"I think she'd make a great president of the United States," O'Malley said during an appearance on "The Politics Program With Mark Plotkin" on Washington Post Radio.

O'Malley has praised Clinton's homeland security credentials and expressed gratitude for her help and that of her husband, former president Bill Clinton, during last year's campaign against then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R). In the closing days of the race, Bill Clinton appeared in a television ad urging voters to support O'Malley.

In recent weeks, O'Malley has been regularly using the pronoun "she" to refer to the next president.

Aides said O'Malley got to know the Clintons well during a presidential trip to Ireland in 2000. O'Malley and the former president also came into contact through the Democratic Leadership Council, a centrist party organization. And after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, O'Malley, as mayor of Baltimore, worked with Sen. Clinton on homeland security measures.

The Clinton campaign issued an advisory yesterday about a "major campaign announcement" this morning in Annapolis. Spokesmen for Clinton and O'Malley declined to comment on the nature of the announcement.

Early last month, New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine (D) became the first governor to endorse Clinton. New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) plans to endorse Clinton on Monday, the Associated Press reported yesterday.

O'Malley would be the second major Maryland politician to back Clinton. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), a political mentor to O'Malley, offered her support last month and was named a national co-chairman of Clinton's campaign.

Aides said O'Malley's work for Clinton will include help with fundraising and building an organization for the state's Feb. 12, 2008, primary. Many political observers think the Democratic race is likely to be decided before then.

O'Malley's counterpart across the Potomac, Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), is backing one of Clinton's main rivals for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Shortly before announcing his support for Obama in February, Kaine said Obama was "in just a completely different category than anybody I've ever stood on stage with."

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