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Longtime O'Malley backer touts him as next DNC chair

Longtime O'Malley backer touts him as next DNC chair
Martin O'Malley (Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

As the political vultures circle around the incumbent, a longtime backer and financier of former Gov. Martin O'Malley is touting him as the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

John P. Coale, whose $500,000 loan helped put O'Malley over the top in his 2006 race against Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., tweeted his support Wednesday as speculation swirled that U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida might be on her way out.

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"Martin O'Malley 4 DNC Chair. Acceptable to both candidates, did great job as [Democratic Governors Association] chair. Great on TV. Huge on executive experience," Coale wrote.

Coale is a retired Washington trial lawyer who is married to Fox News TV host Greta van Susteren. He was an outspoken backer of O'Malley's run for president, which ended after the former governor's dismal performance in the Iowa caucuses.

It is unclear whether O'Malley would be acceptable to likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton as the DNC chief. During his campaign, he took a number of shots at her despite having backed her for president in 2008 against Barack Obama. Since dropping out of this year's race, O'Malley has remained neutral.

However, Clinton might soon be in the market for a DNC chairman to help mend fences with Sen. Bernie Sanders and stage a unified Democratic National Convention.

Sanders has said he wants to see Wasserman Schultz replaced. The rift between them has become so deep that he has endorsed her primary opponent. That breach has led to rampant speculation that Wasserman Schultz's days as party chief may be numbered.

O'Malley is a veteran of the Sunday morning talk shows and became one of the top surrogates for Obama in the 2012 campaign.

He served as chair of the Democratic Governors Association, and raised significant sums on their behalf. And he was a two-term governor of Maryland after serving as mayor of Baltimore.

If O'Malley were to succeed Wasserman Schultz, he could claim a measure of vindication. While he was still a candidate, he criticized her role in arranging the Democratic debate schedule, which he blamed for his inability to emerge as a contender.

Rebecca Katz, a Democratic communications strategist in New York, retweeted Coale's suggestion.

Katz, an O'Malley fan who voted for Sanders in the New York primary, said she sees the former Maryland governor as an ideal choice to help unify the party.

"He's truly a neutral person because he ran against both Sanders and Clinton," she said.

A message sent to Coale on Twitter did not receive an immediate response.

Rick Abbruzzese, a spokesman for O'Malley, said "O'Malley is a life-long Democrat who believes passionately in the most inclusive values of the Democratic Party.  He has no comment on this latest speculation around the DNC."

An earlier version misstated when O'Malley suspended his campaign. The Sun regrets the error.

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