O'Malley to hold Clinton organizational meeting

Baltimore Votes

Primary Sept. 11, 2007

August 14, 2007|By Andrew A. Green | Andrew A. Green,Sun reporter

Gov. Martin O'Malley plans to hold an organizational meeting tonight for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign in Maryland, the latest in his high-profile efforts to support her run for president.

At the meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. at Asbury Methodist United Church in downtown Annapolis and closed to the media, O'Malley will provide an update on the campaign and outline ways volunteers can get involved before Maryland's Feb. 12 presidential primary.

"The governor believes Senator Clinton is the strongest candidate running for president, and that she will restore America's moral leadership in the world and here at home," O'Malley spokesman Steve Kearney said. "He's going to do what he can to make sure that she is elected."

O'Malley was the second sitting governor to endorse Clinton (after New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine). He appeared on the New York senator's behalf at the New Hampshire Democratic Party's convention this summer and hosted a fundraiser for her in Baltimore County.

O'Malley and other top Democrats in the state successfully pushed to move Maryland's presidential primary from March to February in an effort to draw more attention from candidates.

It hasn't translated into a lot of visits from contenders - Clinton, for example, isn't scheduled to attend tonight - but there's been some high-profile jockeying among Maryland politicians.

While Clinton has the support of O'Malley and Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (who also does not plan to attend tonight's meeting), Sen. Barack Obama's campaign recently announced that his Maryland effort will be co-chaired by Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings.

Gansler said the campaign has attracted an "overwhelming number" of volunteers and is working to put together county-by-county organizations to channel their energies on behalf of the Illinois senator. He said an organizational meeting in Montgomery County drew more than 300 volunteers, who have stayed involved through activities such as walking in parades.

"We have no question that Senator Obama is going to win Maryland," Gansler said. "We want to make sure he not only wins Maryland but that we utilize the army of volunteers in Maryland to help in some of the surrounding states."

Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards has the backing of Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller.

On the Republican side, former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani has the highest-profile Maryland chairman, former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

andy.green@baltsun.com

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