Cuomo and O’Malley: Waiting for Hillary to Decide?

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley are both leaders of “Blue States” and both are reportedly waiting for Hillary to decide on a second presidential race before deciding to make a go for the White House. The two chief executives have close relationships with the Clintons: Cuomo served as Secretary of Housing and Development under President Clinton; O’Malley was a surrogate for Hillary in the 2008 Democratic primary.  The governors have been leaders in the fight for marriage equality, signing legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in their respective states, and have fought for many other progressive issues- abolishing the death penalty in Maryland and implementing strong gun control laws in New York and Maryland.

If Hillary does not run, Cuomo seems to be in a better position. Serving in a state that is much larger than Maryland, Cuomo has enjoyed a higher national profile and his fight for same-sex marriage received greater media attention. The firm, PPP, released a poll this week showing Hillary at 64% and Andrew Cuomo at 3% (fourth after Hillary, Vice President Biden, and recently elected and liberal hero U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren). O’Malley, for his part, polled at 1%. The same poll found that without Hillary, Cuomo would be at 10%- and at 22% with neither Hillary nor Biden in the primary. O’Malley still remained at 1% without Hillary and was at 8% without either Hillary or Biden.

Also, the University of Minnesota’s Center for the Study of Politics and Governance released a study on likely Democratic candidates appearing on 11 media outlets’ lists. Only three candidates appeared in all 11 lists: Hillary, Biden and Cuomo. O’Malley was just behind them, as he was only omitted in one media’s list and was the fourth most mentioned.

Chairing the Democratic Governor Association and having a high profile speaking slot at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, O’Malley has enjoyed some national exposure. He also has recently traveled to the two states with the earliest primaries- Iowa and South Carolina. However, his trip to Iowa didn’t exactly set the place on fire and his speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte was widely panned by pundits. Moreover, while his approval ratings in Maryland are decent, O’Malley didn’t poll as well as President Obama in the state in a poll in January and has seen his approval drop below 50% in a recent Washington Post poll.

It’s hard to see either candidate winning the Democratic nomination with Hillary in the race. But without her, Cuomo and O’Malley, alongside Biden and Warren, are generating the most buzz and their campaigns should be taken seriously.

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