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Martin O'Malley formally bows out in Maryland, other races set

Santorum, Huckabee and Paul will appear on Maryland primary ballot.

Martin O'Malley formally withdrew his name from the Maryland presidential ballot on Friday, avoiding the possibility of an embarrassing home state result in the April primary.

The former two-term governor, who suspended his campaign on Monday after a disappointing third-place finish in the Iowa Democratic caucuses, had a week to pull his name off the ballot or risk having a small number of people voting for him even though he would no longer be in the race.

A handful of other candidates took advantage of the Friday deadline at the Maryland State Board of Elections to bow out of contests, locking down the ballot for the state's high-profile races for Congress and mayor of Baltimore. The primary election will take place April 26.

Alvin Thornton, an academic whose namesake commission had a significant impact on public education funding in the state, pulled out of the crowded Democratic primary race in the state's 4th Congressional District. That seat is being left vacant by Rep. Donna F. Edwards, who is running for the U.S. Senate.

Kerry Eugene Hamilton, who was a Democratic candidate challenging incumbent Edward Reisinger for a seat on the Baltimore City Council, said he was backing out for health reasons. Hamilton, 58, vowed to run again and "be back with a vengeance."

The fields of candidates to replace retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake did not change.

The Maryland Board of Elections required presidential candidates to file paperwork to strike their name from the ballot by Friday, a few days after the Iowa caucuses and before the New Hampshire primary. Republicans Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Sen. Rand Paul — who have also suspended their presidential campaigns since the Iowa caucuses — will still appear on the state's ballot.

In 2012, Republicans Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry both appeared on the Maryland primary ballot despite withdrawing from the race months earlier. Both received less than 1 percent of the state's vote, an outcome a home state politician like O'Malley would no doubt prefer to avoid.

john.fritze@baltsun.com

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