Martin O'Malley Is Hillary's Main Competition

Just because Elizabeth Warren isn’t running for president doesn’t mean Democrats don’t have a second option. In fact, as Vox pointed out, Democrats actually have quite a good option aside from Hillary Clinton, and one whose campaign suggests he’d bring us a lot of the things we’re begging to get from a Warren campaign. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Martin O'Malley, Hillary Clinton's main 2016 competition.

The former Maryland governor shares Warren’s zest for comprehensive financial reform with his critiques of Wall Street. O’Malley asserts that Democrats “must not allow another Wall Street meltdown to bring down hard-working families,” The Washington Post reports. He also has a strong message for America’s middle class. At a recent Democratic dinner in Iowa, O’Malley stressed raising the minimum wage, attaining equal pay, expanding Social Security benefits, and making pre-kindergarten available to all kids.

Moreover, O'Malley's key to winning is to snag the backing of Democrats that have been begging Warren to run. And, in the case that Hillary’s email fiasco stemming from her days in the State Department pushes her out of the running entirely, the New York Post reports that O’Malley will get the backing of New York Democrats. So, while Martin O’Malley might not yet be a household name in the way Hillary Clinton is, he definitely has a strong stake of the Democratic party’s interest leading up to the presidential primaries.

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For Democrats, this should actually be great news. For a while, it’s almost looked like Hillary would have a straight shot to the presidential nomination, and that’s a big part of the reason that Warren supporters started popping up and begging her to run. Many contend that Warren could challenge Clinton and bring differing stances on finance within the Democratic party to the forefront of primary debates. Warren doesn’t plan to run — but O’Malley might just be another person who can challenge Clinton.

At this point, early polls show Clinton leaps and bounds ahead of O’Malley. But O’Malley’s speech in Iowa this weekend showed that those numbers could change very quickly. The Washington Post reports that O’Malley drew standing ovations with his speech, which is particularly important in Iowa, the first presidential nominating state. Moreover, O’Malley is slowly but surely starting to gain the attention of both the general public and Democratic activists alike. Iowan Ken Krayenhagen told The Washington Post:

I haven’t really followed him all that closely, but I’m going to be looking at him a lot harder now. I like a leader that’s inspiring.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) kicked off the oncoming slew of presidential announcements Monday, and others are bound to follow suit soon. Clinton is rumored to be announcing in early April, and O’Malley says he plans to make his decision by May.

Watch out, Hill.

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