Martin O'Malley, the two-term Maryland governor who ran unsuccessfully for president this year, said Friday he is considering a bid to lead the national Democratic Party, which is reeling from this week’s upset in the race for president.
O'Malley's statement came as some liberal leaders appeared to be coalescing behind another candidate for the job: Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a favorite of liberals, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the incoming Senate Democratic leader, and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who waged an unexpectedly strong primary campaign against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, have expressed support for Ellison.
O'Malley criticized the Democratic National Committee's leadership heavily during his campaign this year, suggesting that officials were working in Clinton’s favor during the primary.
Many of those officials resigned this summer after leaked internal emails showed that O’Malley and others had a point.
Party chairman is a post that takes on added significance when the opposite party controls the White House. The chair of the out-of-power party plays an especially important role in messaging and organizing for the next election.
“I'm taking a hard look at DNC chair because I know how badly we need to reform our nominating process, articulate a bold progressive vision, recommit ourselves to higher wages and a stronger middle class, and return to our roots as a nationwide, grass roots party,” O’Malley said in a statement.
O'Malley, 53, twice elected Maryland's governor, was thought to be a candidate for the party’s top job earlier this year, but the idea faded as the primary became acrimonious and O'Malley grew openly critical of Clinton.
But after Clinton's loss Tuesday to Republican Donald Trump, Democrats will be searching for new, younger voices.
O'Malley, former head of the Democratic Governors Association, was also an outspoken critic of Trump on social media and national television networks. He received particular attention on social media for describing Trump as a “bully racist” during his speech at the Democratic National Convention this year.
Trump once described O'Malley as a “disgusting, little, weak, pathetic baby.”
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who was DNC chairman from 2005 to 2009, is also seeking the job.