Mr. O’Malley Goes to Iowa

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is taking advantage of Hillary Clinton’s troubles in the polls and has begun to cash in the political chips he earned in the 2014 election cycle.

In the run-up to last year’s midterms, O’Malley appeared on the campaign trail with Iowa’s Democrat gubernatorial candidate Jack Hatch at least 11 times. And though Hatch ultimately lost in the Republican wave, O’Malley’s investment in the cause earned him a great many bonafides.

The Washington Post reports that of the 32 PAC staffers O’Malley sent around the nation in the midterm election efforts, nearly half of them were dedicated to Iowa. And it’s an investment that could pay dividends in the coming Iowa Caucuses.

Though Hillary’s poll numbers are still very strong compared to all of the potential primary contenders, her command has softened amid the ongoing foundation-donor and private-email scandals.

What’s more, there are two political realities that could work to the benefit of an O’Malley candidacy in the first-in-the-nation contest. First, Hillary finished in a unimpressive third place during her primary bid in the 2008 race.

Coupled with her conspicuous inactivity in the state thus far this year, conditions could be perfect for O’Malley to up-stage her. Second, unlike the Republican Party which most often nominates the candidate most considered ‘next in line’, Democrats are historically prone to give the nomination to an unexpected candidate.

Should Hillary’s public troubles continue into April as the official candidate announcements begin, O’Malley’s splash in Iowa could presage the beginning of the end of Hillary’s inevitability.