Politics

Potential 2016 Presidential Hopeful Martin O'Malley Ready to Campaign for Charlie Crist

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: September 4, 2014 3:55 AM
Martin O'Malley

Martin O'Malley

A potential contender for the Democratic presidential nomination will be heading to Florida later this month to campaign for former Gov. Charlie Crist, the Democratic nominee running against Gov. Rick Scott in November. 

This week, the Washington Post reported that Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., will be hitting the Sunshine State on Sept. 20 to speak at a Palm Beach County Democrats event in West Palm Beach. O’Malley will spend parts of that day fundraising and campaigning for Crist.

O’Malley has left the door open to running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 and recent activities indicate he is seriously contemplating it. Besides Florida, traditionally one of the first states to hold its primary after Iowa and New Hampshire cast their votes, O’Malley is getting active in other states that play a key, early role in determining the presidential nominees. O’Malley is scheduled to campaign in New Hampshire later in the month and is dispatching campaign staff to help Democrats there and in Iowa and South Carolina. In recent weeks, reports have emerged that O’Malley has promised supporters he will run in 2016 even if former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the heavy favorite for the Democratic nomination, enters the primaries.

Despite ranking as one of the most liberal governors in the nation, O’Malley threw his support behind Crist, who spent most of his political career as a Republican, back in April. O’Malley emailed Crist supporters at the end of April, hitting Scott for opposing raising the minimum wage and backing President Barack Obama’s proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

“During his 2010 campaign for governor, Rick Scott was asked live on CNN what Florida's minimum wage was,” O’Malley wrote. “He got the answer wrong. It's no wonder he's since refused to listen to the overwhelming number of Floridians -- including a majority of Republicans -- who want to raise the state's minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

“Fortunately, Charlie Crist is leading the fight to make that happen,” O’Malley added. “He understands that when workers make more money, businesses have more customers -- that raising the wage lifts all boats. He'll take action as Florida's next governor, but we need Congress to do the same for all Americans.”

O’Malley joined with Crist to launch a petition urging Congress to raise the minimum wage.

“No one who works full-time should have to raise their family in poverty. That's why, in Maryland, we worked with business owners, workers, faith leaders, and activists to raise our minimum wage to $10.10,” O’Malley insisted. “Our action will lift over 400,000 of our state's residents out of poverty. In Florida, raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would directly affect over 1.2 million workers and their families.

“Doing the same nationally would create demand for new jobs and reduce government spending, because fewer of our neighbors will rely on state and federal assistance to try and make ends meet," O’Malley continued. “More jobs and less spending: That should be something both Republicans and Democrats can agree on.”

But Scott has shown no hesitation in firing away at the Maryland governor. During his time in Tallahassee, Scott has been a fierce critic of O’Malley’s economic policies. In May 2013, Scott targeted businesses in the Old Line State, sending them letters urging them to relocate to Florida.

“Our pro-business attitude in Florida, along with our lower taxes, makes Florida the perfect climate for business,” Scott said at the time. “We have lowered taxes, cut burdensome regulations and paid down state debt to give job creators an economy where they can grow and succeed.”

Scott’s team contrasted the business climates of Florida and Maryland, trotting out economic competitiveness surveys compiled by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and conservative economist Arthur Laffer in 2012 which found Florida ranking first in the nation on personal income taxes, estate and inheritance taxes and right-to-work. Maryland placed 50th on right-to-work and estate and inheritance taxes and was 44th on personal income taxes. While Maryland placed 34th on corporate income taxes, Florida was 13th.



Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN

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