Opinion: Road to victory long for O’Malley in Iowa

Opinion: Road to victory long for O’Malley in Iowa

By Brett Houser

Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley consistently ranks low in the polls, and many wonder what he is trying to accomplish just 30 days before the Iowa caucus.

Only one person attended his event in Tama, Iowa in late December after a snowstorm, and he failed to even qualify for the Ohio ballot.

Hillary Clinton leads the race with 50 percent in the polls, and Sen. Bernie Sanders trails her at 34 percent. O’Malley maintains only three percent, according to a CNN poll.

Despite his numbers, Nearly 100 O’Malley supporters filled a room at West Des Moines Public Library for his first event of the New Year Saturday.

The room buzzed with excitement as O’Malley addressed the crowd, which consisted of mostly elderly Iowans. Most attendees did not seem too concerned with his low poll numbers.

Supporter Marvin Grace said that he is not discouraged because he believes O’Malley’s low poll numbers are not completely accurate.

“I don’t think that his supporters should feel that they should abandon him for the other Democratic candidates,” Grace said. “I don’t think that these supporters should lose hope because I think he is rising.”

However, O’Malley supporter Barbara McClannahan expressed some concern regarding his lagging poll numbers.

“It is hard to not get a little discouraged when I see how far behind Governor O’Malley is,” she said. “I still think I will support him no matter what.”

O’Malley praised President Obama and said that he could “build on the things that President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have done.”

He spoke about drastically increasing gun control, expanding the middle class and making it easier for people to vote, although he hardly offered any solutions to these issues.

“What a radical idea,” he joked.

O’Malley and his staff appeared optimistic, and he made it clear that he is not discouraged.

“When I ran for governor of Maryland, I knew it would not be easy,” O’Malley said. “I have always been drawn to the tough fights.”

O’Malley’s Des Moines caucus director Joe O’Hern said that his staff’s morale remains high.

“We’re the fun campaign,” O’Hern said. “You have to be a little more light-hearted for this.”

Even though O’Malley will persevere, the costs of running a presidential campaign seem to outweigh the benefits for him this election cycle, so why is he still in the race?

Although the Democratic nomination is most likely not probable for former Gov. O’Malley in 2016, perhaps he is staying in the race in hopes of achieving a Mitt Romney scenario circa 2008.

Romney was not very well known when he campaigned for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, but by the time the election of 2012 arrived, Romney was a household name.

Come 2016, O’Malley will have more name recognition, so even though he has little chance of beating Hillary Clinton, he can still maintain hope for a future nomination.