O'Malley to secure Baltimore headquarters for potential presidential bid

Erin Cox
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun
O'Malley's presidential headquarters to be near Penn Station?

Former Gov. Martin O’Malley will announce a decision on a run for the presidency at an event in Baltimore on May 30, and is planning to sign a lease Friday for office space across from Penn Station.

O’Malley discussed his thinking during a conference call with longtime supporters Thursday night.

“He said that he is inclined to run (not final yet), and that if he does, he needs the support of all his longtime friends and supporters,” former spokeswoman Takirra Winfield Dixon wrote in an email.

“He also highlighted what great challenges we still face as nation — particularly the economic challenges — and how he would bring new leadership, progressive values, and record of getting results to address these challenges.”

O'Malley, a Democrat, left office in January after two terms as governor and six years as mayor of Baltimore. He has made speeches and hired staff in early primary states, where he is pitching himself as a progressive alternative to Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner for the White House in 2016.

A spokeswoman said Thursday that he plans to shutter the Washington office of his political action committee, O’Say Can You See, and move 40 workers into space at 1501 St. Paul St. by the middle of next week.

The historic Railway Express building, formerly a parcel post office, was owned by the city and redeveloped during his mayoral administration. It now houses nonprofits, professional offices, an architecture firm and loft apartments.

O’Malley plans to attend political events this week hosted by Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and former Maryland Democratic Chairwoman Yvette Lewis, aides said.

O’Malley has come under criticism for his “zero tolerance” police strategy while the city's mayor — criticism revived by some in recent weeks after the death of Freddie Gray.

When he toured Baltimore during the recent unrest, O’Malley received a hero’s welcome in some corners of the city but was heckled in others.

If he runs, he has said, he would make his tenure as Baltimore's mayor central to the campaign.

“I wouldn't think of announcing any place else,” he said this month.

“I did not dedicate my life to making Baltimore a safer and more just place because it was easy,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And I am more inclined and more deeply motivated now to address what's wrong with our country and what needs to be healed and what needs to be fixed.”

Aides said several sites for the announcement are under consideration but would not identify them.

O’Malley would face an uphill fight against Clinton, who has a formidable fundraising machine and is far ahead of potential opponents in polls.

Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, is also seeking the Democratic nomination.

Baltimore Sun reporter Colin Campbell contributed to this article.

ecox@baltsun.com

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