Monday, September 3, 2012

An Oportunity and A Chance

(Charlotte, NC) "There needs to be an ah ha moment," says Delegate Adrienne Jones of Baltimore County. A lot is riding on Governor Martin O'Malley as he prepares to deliver. a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The official convention starts on Tuesday, but already various state delegations are holding meetings strategizing about how to maximize participation from the party faithful. President Obama should have little trouble in winning the state. The stakes are higher however for the states chief executive.

He has made no secret that he intends to make a run for President in 2016. "We will be the loudest delegation tomorrow in the room, says Prince George's States Attorney Angela Alsobrooks, one of the states's rising political stars. She has joined many in the delegation at the Fox and Hound Grill. The atmosphere is laid back as some play pool, others converse over their favorite spirit, as tense staff make sure there are no slips of the tongue.

Mfume, Sen. Raskin and Lt. Gov. Brown
The heavyweights of Maryland's political past are here. There is former Maryland Governor Paris Glendening who ushered in the era of "smart growth." Kwiesi Mfume, the former congressman is here. He knows a thing or two about keynote speeches having delivered one himself. "He can't be Chris Christy (a reference to the New Jersey Governor). He's got to be succinct. He's there to promote the party, promote the President and Vice President, and the promote party platform. But in that process he needs to give everyone an idea of your personality."

Ho. Co. Exe, Ullman & Fmr. Gov. Glendening
There was no shortage of personalities in the room. There was Attorney General Doug Gansler who is rumored to be considering a run for Governor in 2014. "At least my mother thinks so," said a coy Gansler. There was also Ken Ullman, Howard County Executive. David Nitkin made sure I had the Howard County job numbers.

Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown arrived in "rock star fashion" with an entourage. He could be biggest beneficiary of a well received speech by the governor. "We're hearing from a lot of people who are urging me to run." (don't want to put a damper on the enthusiasm, no Lieutenant Governor has succeed in becoming Governor?) Missing from this event the other potential contender, Peter Franchot, the states comptroller. MIA.

State's Atty Alsobrooks and Baltimore Mayor Rawlings-Blake
There is keen focus Tuesday with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake hosting a party that could be a victory celebration for the Governor. The message and the moment could be just right.

I was there in 2004 when the then Mayor was asked to speak to then DNC gathered to crown Senator John Carey as the parties nominee. The speech was not memorable and luckily it was overshadowed by another speech delivered by an upcoming star, State Senator Barack Obama of Illinios.

There were too many metaphors (something about alabasters?)'and never seem to capture anyone's imagination nor attention. This is different. The Governor of Maryland has had an opportunity to hone his verbal debating skills on the Sunday Morning Political Television Shows. He's hit back against GOP rivals in surrounding states (Virginia, and New Jersey). "There's a reason he's the head of the National Governors Association," says former Governor Glendening. "He's only 25 minutes from DC." 

The simple truth, this is an opportunity to set a stage for next chapter in the O'Malley legacy. And I'm not talking about the muscle t-shirt wearing leader of the band, O'Malley's March. (FYI, they're supposed to play in Charlotte.)

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