Of everyone on the list, Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland is the most open about his intentions.
“By the end of this year, I think we’re on course to have a body of work that lays the framework of a candidacy for 2016,” Governor O’Malley reporters at a National Governors Association meeting last August.
On July 31, O’Malley reported raising almost $500,000 so far this year for his political action committee, the O’Say Can You See PAC.
Since taking office in January 2007, Governor O’Malley has worked his way up the ranks of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA), serving as chairman in 2011 and 2012 – a position that allows him to build connections, and goodwill, with Democrats around the country.
Now O’Malley is the DGA’s finance chairman, a fundraising position that keeps him connected to the party’s major donors. He’s also a regular on national cable news and a speaker at Democratic fundraising dinners – including those in the early nominating states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
In 2009, Governing magazine named O’Malley one of its “Public Officials of the Year.” The magazine cited his data-driven approach, both as governor and as a two-term mayor of Baltimore before that. He has signed legislation legalizing gay marriage and in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants in Maryland, and both measures were supported by Maryland voters on Election Day.