Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) campaigned Sunday for the re-election of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) and for a ballot measure in that state seeking to raise the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour.
O’Malley, who is weighing a 2016 White House bid, told Quinn supporters gathered in a Chicago bar that “for about 30 years, we were sold a bit of hooey, that somehow prosperity trickles down from the top.”
“Well, that’s not the way our economy works,” O’Malley said, according to an audio recording of his remarks. “An economy is built from the middle up and from the middle out.”
The Maryland legislature passed a bill this year introduced by O’Malley that will raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 by 2018. O’Malley had pushed for a quicker timetable, but lawmakers changed the bill to allow businesses more time to adjust to higher payroll costs.
A non-binding measure on the ballot this fall in Illinois asks voters if lawmakers there should raise the state’s minimum wage to $10 in January.
O’Malley’s appearance with Quinn was part of a busy weekend of events on behalf of Democrats on the ballot in November in three midwestern states. O’Malley also campaigned Sunday for Jack Hatch, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Iowa, and with Mary Burke, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Wisconsin.
Photos of his day posted by O’Malley on Twitter included a “selfie” with University of Wisconsin students preparing to go door-to-door on Burke’s behalf.
In Illinois, O’Malley sidestepped a reporter’s questions about his interest in running for president. “I’m here to support Governor Quinn,” O’Malley said. “I’m not here to talk about that. I appreciate you asking.”
In response to another question, O’Malley offered no more than muted criticism of President Obama’s decision to delay action on immigration reforms through executive actions until after the November elections.
“We’d all like to see it happen sooner rather than later, it’s safe to say,” O’Malley said. He blamed Republicans for inaction in Congress.