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Martin Joseph O'Malley (born January 18, 1963) is an Americanmarker Democratic politician who is currently serving as the 61st Governor of Marylandmarker. Previously, he served as the mayor of Baltimoremarker from 1999 to 2007.

Political development

O'Malley attended Our Lady of Lourdes School in Bethesda and Gonzaga College High Schoolmarker. He went to college at The Catholic University of Americamarker, graduating in 1985. Later that year he enrolled at the University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore, earning his JD in 1988 and passing the bar that same year.

In December 1982, while still in college, O'Malley signed on with the Gary Hart presidential campaign for the 1984 election. In late 1983, he volunteered to go to Iowamarker. He phone-banked, organized volunteers, and even played guitar and sang at small fundraisers and other events.

In 1986, while in law school, O'Malley was named by then-Congresswoman Barbara Mikulski as her state field director for her successful primary and general election campaigns for the U.S. Senate. Later he served as a legislative fellow in Senator Mikulski’s office from 1987-1988.

In 1988, he began dating his future wife, Catherine Curran, the daughter of the State's Attorney General. Later that year, O’Malley was hired as an Assistant State's Attorney for the City of Baltimoremarker. He would hold that position until 1990.

In 1990, O'Malley, ran for the Maryland State Senate in District 43. He lost the Democratic Primary to John A. Pica Jr. by 44 votes. A year later he ran for a vacant Baltimore City Council seat to represent the 3rd District. He served from 1991 to 1999. As Councilman, he served as Chairman of the Legislative Investigations Committee and Chairman of the Taxation and Finance Committee.

Mayor of Baltimore

O'Malley announced his campaign for Mayor of Baltimore in 1999. He won the Democratic Primary with over 50% of the vote. He was then elected Mayor of Baltimore in the General election with over 90% of the vote. In 2004, O'Malley was re-elected in the general election with 88% of the vote, defeating Republican challenger Elbert (Ray) Henderson.

In O'Malley's first year in office, he adopted a statistics-based tracking system first modeled after Compstat, which was employed by former New Yorkmarker Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to assist the New York City Police Department. O'Malley broadened this results driven model across all government services. The program shifted Baltimore’s way of “doing government” from an antiquated patronage-based system to a performance-based system that zeroes in on areas of under-performance, using computerized databases to track targets and results. There is a weekly meeting in which city department managers meet with the Mayor’s office and discuss their office's results. The power of information technology has been harnessed to manage the complexities of modern urban systems and procedures. CitiStat has saved Baltimore residents more than $350 million. Among its many accolades, in 2004, O'Malley's CitiStat accountability tool won Harvard University’s prestigious Innovations in American Government award. Its success has garnered the attention of delegations from places like England, India, Texas, and many others..

Stained Glass window of Mayor Martin O'Malley.

Upon leaving office, "the City... had a $38 million budget surplus – the largest in Baltimore’s history – and a 5 year, $75 million tax cut which has reduced property taxes to a 30 year low."

During the first Mayoral campaign, O’Malley’s made improving public safety a priority. By the end of his second term, Baltimore experienced "nearly a 40% reduction in violent crime, which [led] the nation”. In 2005, Baltimore was ranked the sixth most dangerous city in the United States; in 2006, it was ranked the twelfth most dangerous city.

In 2005, Baltimore’s reported homicide rate was five times that of New York Citymarker, which had one of the lowest crime rates of America's largest cities. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Unified Crime Reports for 2000 and 2003, violent crimes (homicide, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) in Baltimore declined from 16,003 in 2000 (O'Malley's first year in office) to 13,789 in 2003. In terms of homicides, there were 261 in 2000; 256 in 2001; 253 in 2002; and 270 in 2003.More recently, there were 276 homicides in 2004 and 269 in 2005.

The latest police statistics for 2008, according to the Baltimore Sun, show that "shootings are down by 26 percent over last year, from 361 to 266... Meanwhile, rates of other violent crimes, including assaults, rapes and robberies, has not changed much since 2007..."


The Washington Post wrote that "[t]o date, no evidence has surfaced of a systemic manipulation of crime statistics." by the government under O'Malley

O'Malley stated that his administration had greatly improved the Baltimore City Public School System, and that they “are on the mend for the first time in decades.” As one of his five most prominent achievements, O'Malley says that his administration “improved student test scores across the board” while noting that much work remains. A national study on the graduation rates in the nation's 50 biggest cities found Baltimore to be second to last with respect to dropout rates (with Detroit in last place).. As the city school system is independently controlled by a board jointly appointed by the mayor and the governor of Maryland, a structure adopted in 1997 as part of litigation in the Federal court system, no single political leader or single level of government (city or state) has responsibility for or authority over the city schools, and it is difficult to hold specific elected officials responsible for either the successes or failures of the city school system.

The Maryland State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, an organization that had endorsed O'Malley's gubernatorial opponent, Robert Ehrlich, issued a statement 10 days before the election demanding to see a copy of the his 1988 application.

Major land developer Edward St. John was fined $55,000 by the Maryland Office of the State Prosecutor for making illegal contributions to the O'Malley campaign. The Washington Times reported later that the Governor's administration had issued a press release touting a new $28 million highway interchange leading to one of St. John's properties. Governor O'Malley's spokesman said there was no "quid pro quo" and a spokesman for the County Executive noted that the project had been a county transportation priority since before both O'Malley and the Executive were elected.

The "MD4Bush" incident

In early 2005 Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich fired an aide, Joseph Steffen, for spreading rumors of marital infidelity about O'Malley on the Internet. O'Malley and his wife had previously held a highly publicized press conference to deny the rumors and accuse Republicans of partisan politics. The discussions in which Steffen posted the rumors were initiated by an anonymous user going by the name "MD4Bush," later revealed to be Maryland Democratic Party official Ryan O'Doherty.

Media attention

In 2002, Esquire magazine named O’Malley “The Best Young Mayor in the Country,” and in 2005, TIME magazine named him one of America’s “Top 5 Big City Mayors”.In August 2005, Business Week Magazine Online named O'Malley as one of five "New Faces" in the Democratic Party. Business Week said that O'Malley "has become the Party's go-to guy on protecting the homeland. The telegenic mayor has developed a detailed plan for rail and port safety and has been an outspoken critic of White Housemarker security priorities."

Homeland security

In 2003, national Democratic leaders asked him to give the Democratic Response to the President’s weekly radio address in which he spoke about Homeland Security.

During the 2004 presidential campaign, Sen. John Kerry invited O'Malley to speak on the topic in Wisconsin. In 2004, O'Malley was one of the featured speakers at the Democratic National Convention in the FleetCenter in Bostonmarker, Massachusettsmarker. In his speech, he focused on Homeland Security stating “Sadly and unforgivably almost three years after that fateful day when thousands of moms and dads, sons and daughters didn’t come from work on September 11th, America’s cities and towns, America’s ports and borders and America’s heartland remain needlessly vulnerable”.

Governor of Maryland

2006 gubernatorial elections

O'Malley was nominated by the Democratic Party to challenge incumbent Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich in the November 2006 election. O'Malley featured the news article “Running early, running hard" on his new web site, launched June 2005. It stated, "O'Malley has yet to officially announce his run for governor, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been busy on the campaign trail."

O'Malley selected Anthony G. Brown, Delegate from Prince George's Countymarker, lawyer, and Iraq War veteran, as his running mate. O'Malley was expected to face Montgomery Countymarker Executive Doug Duncan in the Democratic primary. Duncan dropped out of the race on June 22, 2006.

In 2004, friends of O'Malley speculated that he might be a presidential candidate in 2012.

O'Malley defeated incumbent Gov. Ehrlich in the November 7, 2006, gubernatorial election by a 6.5% margin.

Term as Governor

Martin O'Malley's inauguration
O'Malley was sworn in as Governor on January 17, 2007. One of his administration's first accomplishments was closure of the Maryland House of Correction in Jessup, Marylandmarker, an old and notoriously violent maximum-security prison facility.

As fill-in for Hillary Rodham Clinton during a Democratic convention on June 2, 2007 in New Hampshiremarker, O'Malley expanded "his exposure among the party elite and activists."

Governor O'Malley called a Special Session in November, 2007 to close a structural budget deficit of $1.7 billion. A structural deficit differs from an actual deficit in that it is based on out-year projected data. In response to this projected deficit for 2008–2009, O'Malley and some Democratic Maryland lawmakers passed and signed tax increases. The Administration provided evidence that 83% of Maryland taxpayers would not pay higher taxes under their originally proposed plan. The plan would raise total state tax collections 14%. A Maryland Senate panel modified the tax proposal, removing "tax breaks for middle- and working-class families."

Based on a Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of registered voters conducted in September 2008, O'Malley's approval rating is as follows: Excellent (8%); Good (26%); Fair (35%); and Poor (29%)

In years past, slot machine gambling has been a heated topic in the General Assembly – both houses in Maryland government. Proponents claim slots could help ease the burden of Maryland's severe structural deficit. O'Malley's predecessor, Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. made slot machine gambling a priority from the beginning of his four-year term. However, associated legislation was not passed. O'Malley has said that he supports the implementation of a limited number of slot machines only at horse racing tracks to help sustain the horse racing industry. In November 2008, voters state-wide approved the introduction of slots in Maryland.

In April 2009, O'Malley signed a traffic speed camera enforcement law (Senate Bill 277), a bill which he supported and fought for in order to help raise revenue to try to balance the record deficit facing Maryland. Through strong lobbying by O'Malley, the bill was revived after first having been defeated. After a second vote, the measure barely passed by a few votes. The bill continues to face harsh bi-partisan criticism and has been called a tax on drivers by opponents of the bill. The bill has also sparked a ballot referendum effort sponsored by the not-for-profit group Maryland For Responsible Enforcement.

O'Malley was elected as the Vice Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association for 2009–2010.

Since taking office O'Malley has adapted the CitiStat program he devised for Baltimore and applied it to the state of Maryland. This new program is called StateStat. O'Malley has said that President Obama has looked at StateStat as a potential model for tracking stimulus funding.

Key Legislative Accomplishments

In late 2007, O'Malley was responsible for the passage of the largest tax increase in the history of the State of Maryland. He called a special legislative session for the chief purpose of enacting this legislation that raised sales taxes by 20% and increased individual income taxes by up to 15%.


O'Malley is the son of Tom and Barbara O'Malley. The late Tom O'Malley served as a Montgomery County based criminal defense lawyer, and an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia from 1957 to 1962, among many other positions. The elder O'Malley, a bombardier in the Army Air Forces in the Pacific theater during the Second World War, claimed to have seen the nuclear mushroom cloud rise over Hiroshima.

Martin O'Malley is married to state district judge Catherine Curran O'Malley (Katie). Martin and Katie first met in 1986 while he was working on Barbara Mikulski’s primary and general election campaign for U.S. Senator from Maryland; while Katie was working on her father J. Joseph Curran, Jr.’s campaign for Attorney General of Marylandmarker. They began to date in 1988 and were married in 1990 during his first campaign for political office.

They now live in the governor's mansion in Annapolis with their four children.

O'Malley’s father-in-law, J. Joseph Curran, Jr., served as Attorney General of Maryland from 1987-2007. Citing his age and his long career, Curran decided not to seek reelection on May 7, 2006, preventing any conflict of interest that might arise in having two close family members at the position of Governor and Attorney General.

In other media

According to the creator of the HBO drama "The Wire", David Simon, the fictional Mayor of Baltimore Tommy Carcetti is "not O'Malley", but O'Malley was one of several inspirations.

O'Malley appeared in the film Ladder 49 as himself, then-mayor of Baltimore.

The History Channel's documentary First Invasion: The War of 1812 featured O'Malley in a segment regarding the British attack on Baltimore in 1814.

O'Malley is a musician. He was active in several bands and solo in the DC and Baltimore areas starting in the early 1980s. He was the vocalist/guitarist/songwriter of Celtic rock band, "O'Malley's March" from 1988 to 2005.

Electoral history

Further reading


External links

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