Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley made it clearer than ever that he will run for president in 2016 during a series of conference calls Thursday night with friends, former staffers and other supporters, participants in those calls said.

O’Malley stopped short of explicitly confirming his bid for the White House, participants said. But he and aides outlined fundraising plans for the coming weeks and unveiled a new Web site to help build a crowd for a “special announcement” on May 30 in Baltimore, where he served as mayor for seven years.

One former aide said that O’Malley told participants on his call that he is “more inclined than ever to put himself out there” for a longshot bid for the Democratic nomination that would pit him against Hillary Rodham Clinton. Eight participants who described the calls -- including some who live in early presidential nominating states -- requested anonymity to share the discussions more freely.

O’Malley, meanwhile, plans to sign a lease as early as Friday for office space in Baltimore, in yet another sign of his intentions to move forward with a White House run. The 7,200 square-foot location is across the street from Penn Station, the city’s major rail hub, the Baltimore Sun reported Thursday night.

O’Malley’s series of calls Thursday night included one for alumni of the presidential campaigns of former Colorado senator and presidential candidate Gary Hart. O’Malley got his start in politics working on Hart’s 1984 and 1988 White House campaigns and maintains a web of friendships across the country from those days.

During another call, participants said, aides to O’Malley made a pitch to supporters to donate to a new federal account, which presumably would be set up to support an O’Malley presidential bid. To this point, O’Malley has used a political action committee to pay for a growing staff and his travels around the country. That will no longer be legal once he becomes an official candidate.

Two longtime O’Malley allies were named on that call as leaders of his fundraising efforts, participants said. Terry Lierman, a former Maryland Democratic Party chairman, will serve as O’Malley’s treasurer, they said, while Baltimore-area businessman Martin Knott will be O’Malley’s finance chairman.

During another call geared toward former staffers in O’Malley’s gubernatorial and mayoral offices, the emphasis was on turnout for the May 30 announcement, participants said. They said they were encouraged to sign up to attend the event via a newly created Web site -- -- and to ask their friends to do the same.