Caucus Crash Course: Martin O’Malley in Iowa

Posted: December 18, 2015 | By: Iowa Caucus Project Staff Tagged: Blog

Iowans- here is your basic breakdown of “what you need to know” about Martin O’Malley’s 2016 campaign in Iowa.

The majority of the voting population in both Iowa and the United States assume that on the democratic side of things it’s a race purely between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Unbeknownst to some, there is a third candidate still in the race. You may know him from previous DNC debates as the “actually pretty attractive” one, or the “only other man on stage who isn’t screaming at the audience.” The third lesser known candidate, Martin O’Malley is indeed still running, ladies and gentlemen. O’ Malley has been almost exclusively neglected by the media as well as ignored in several national polls. However, his poor poll numbers are not new. Since O’Malley entered the race last May, his campaign has had difficulty taking off. You may sit here and think —  well, for lack of a better word, “duh.” Yet, despite his low poll ratings and his nigh uncatchable opponents, O’Malley has put forth substantial effort into his caucus game.

Don’t get me wrong, O’Malley is still no HRC, however his ground game strategy and organization in Iowa is impressive nonetheless. With regional field directions and field organizers in every major region in the state, the man understands the caucus. A significant benchmark in O’Malley’s campaign in Iowa was the recent Democratic debate held at Drake University in Des Moines. Opinions may vary when examining OMalley’s performance during the debate, however, whether you enjoyed the governor’s banter or not, his performance prompted the endorsements of 28 Iowa democrats. Some notable endorsements include chairman of Polk County Democrats, Tom Henderson as well as a candidate for the Iowa House of Representatives.

O’Malley has also made a conscious effort to spend as much time in Iowa as possible in the months leading up to the caucus. The great state of Iowa consists of 99 counties and O’Malley has visited 47 of them– a little under half. While that may not seem like a lot, Bernie Sanders has only visited 32 of Iowa’s counties. In three of those counties O’Malley has set up campaign offices. Those counties include some of Iowa’s larger cities like Des Moines, Sioux City, and Cedar Rapids. All the action taken by O’Malley contribute to the end goal that all candidates share at this point in the election cycle — winning Iowa.

Since his entrance into the race, O’Malley has trailed in support among Iowans at around 2-5% in the polls, despite all of his efforts in the state. Before the Democratic National Committee debate at Drake University, O’Malley introduced a new slogan and mascot to his campaign: the turtle who, from folklore, we know represents “slow and steady wins the race.” With two hares outnumbering him in the race, we can only hope– for O’Malley’s sake– that the old fable holds true.

This may not be the prime cycle for O’Malley to seek the nomination, however, that’s not to say he does not have a fighting chance in elections to come. Plus, I think it’s safe to say that that the consensus here in Iowa is that even without a caucus win, O’Malley will get by just fine on his good looks and his mastery of the guitar.