O’Malley to “Initially Support” Entire Field

The former governor’s staff is split among the Democratic hopefuls.

Zach C. Cohen
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Zach C. Cohen
Sept. 11, 2017, 11:08 a.m.

“Former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) turned up unannounced at a meet-and-greet event in Baltimore last week for Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker (D). … O’Malley hugged Baker and showered him with praise, ticking off a list of weighty agenda items on which the two had collaborated. ‘County Executive Baker would be an outstanding governor for this state,’ O’Malley said. But later, he made it clear that he was not ready to offer an endorsement just yet. … Three sources familiar with O’Malley’s thinking said he was inclined to favor Baker for governor – privately if not publicly – until” attorney Jim Shea (D) “entered the race, and is now torn because he and Shea have been so close.”

O’Malley of the Democratic candidates: “I plan to be supportive of each of them initially.”

“Mollie Byron, a former O’Malley State House and presidential campaign staffer, is a volunteer and informal adviser Baker.”

“Many of O’Malley’s one-time advisers are close to … Shea. … Craig Varoga, chief strategist of O’Malley’s 2010 re-election campaign and lead strategist in the 2012 push for the referendum to expand gambling in Maryland, is a top architect of Shea’s campaign.”

“Colleen Martin-Lauer, a longtime O’Malley fundraiser and strategist, is performing the same role for” Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz (D), “who is expected to announce his candidacy soon. Kevin Loeb, who ran the field operation for O’Malley’s gubernatorial re-election, is Kamenetz’s policy director for the county government, but he has informally helped Kamenetz reach out to Democrats across the state. Steve Kearney, co-founder of the well-connected Baltimore firm KOFA Public Affairs, who handled O’Malley’s communications when he was governor and in City Hall, said he is ‘all-in’ for Kamenetz.”

“But the other co-founder of KOFA, Damian O’Doherty, another O’Malley intimate, has cast his lot with” former State Department official Alec Ross (D). “Colm O’Comartun, a former top O’Malley aide on the campaign trail, in government and when O’Malley was chairman of the [DGA], is informally advising Ross.”

“Another outsider candidate, former White House official Krishanti Vignarajah, is being helped by Steve Rabin, a former O’Malley and Obama administration speechwriter.”

“The campaign manager for former NAACP President Ben Jealous (D), Travis Tazelaar, was executive director of the Maryland Democratic Party for part of the time O’Malley was governor and did some early work on his presidential campaign.”

“Baker himself seems eager to draw links between his record and O’Malley’s. … Baker spoke about how O’Malley reached out to him when he was elected county executive and how they collaborated on numerous initiatives to help Prince George’s County.” (Maryland Matters)

TRUMP EFFECT. Jealous and Ross are calling on the University of Baltimore “to rescind its invitation to” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos “to give a commencement address.” (AP)

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