The Democratic Party lost 1,042 down-ballot positions during Obama’s tenure as president. These losses were across the board including state legislature seats, governorships and congressional elections. Democratic governorships plummeted from 28 to 16, and House seats dropped from 256 to 194.
In an attempt to reverse this devastation, Martin O’Malley, former Maryland governor, has formed a new PAC, Win Back Your State. Its goal is to help Democratic candidates in state and local elections nationwide. O’Malley has been the most active Democrat with national prominence. So far in 2017, he has visited 21 states to help local Democrats with their campaigns.
Belatedly, the most influential leaders in the party have started to focus on rebuilding their crumbling foundation in state and local politics. Former Vice President Joe Biden has formed a PAC to support down-ballot candidates, and Steve Bullock, governor of Montana, has launched a PAC to finance his travels to other states in support of fellow Democrats. Other prominent Democrats has also jumped on the PAC train: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander and ex-Housing Secretary Julian Castro.
Publicly, it appears that O’Malley is focusing his efforts to help fellow Democrats, but his presidential aspirations cannot be ignored. In a recent interview on MSNBC, he admitted that he “might” be interested in running for the presidency in 2020. He was a longshot candidate in 2016 but dropped out after a miserable showing against Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucus.
After ignoring the “flyover” states for years, Democrats are making progress. The Party has had success in recent elections in the Virginia state legislature and almost gained control of its House of Delegates for the first time in nearly 20 years. A legislative seat in an Oklahoma district that Trump won by 39 points in 2016 flipped over to the Democrats.
O’Malley and other prominent Democrats have finally gotten their heads out of a delusional fog and started to focus on rebuilding their party. It appears that they are making progress, and, at the same time, O’Malley is setting himself up for a presidential run.