O'Malley to visit S.C. later this month

Gov. Martin O'Malley will address a conference of Democrats in South Carolina this month, the latest trip he is making to an early primary state as speculation about whether he will run for president in 2016 continues.

The March 23 trip will come in the waning days of Maryland's 90-day legislative session, though it falls on a Saturday. The governor visited Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and other key presidential states last year as chair of the Democratic Governors Association.

Details of the trip were first reported on the website of The Washington Post early Friday and were released later in the day by the South Carolina Democratic Party.

O'Malley's second term runs out at the end of 2014. He has demurred on questions about his future, arguing that he is focused on his current job.

Citing an O'Malley aide, the Post noted the governor's speech would touch on his work in Maryland as well as the importance of electing a Democratic governor in South Carolina. O'Malley is the DGA's finance chairman.

"Governor O'Malley has gotten results in the toughest of times and as a result of his leadership, Maryland ranks No. 1 in public schools, No. 1 in holding down the cost of college tuition, No. 1 in its region for recovering jobs after the national recession, and No. 1 in innovation and entrepreneurship," said state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, a Democrat who is considering a run against South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki Haley in 2014 and who invited O'Malley to speak.

"That is the kind of leadership we are lacking in South Carolina's statehouse and his presence will bring valuable insight and experience to our discussions," he said.

O'Malley last public appearance in South Carolina was as an Obama campaign surrogate in January 2012.

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