Martin O’Malley: Southern Outlier?
Kentucky became the sixth state where O’Malley has eclipsed one percent of the primary vote – all located in the South
Martin O’Malley withdrew from the race for the Democratic nomination after the Iowa caucuses on February 1st, but he has still garnered measurable support in primaries from time to time over the last three months including in Kentucky on Tuesday.
That support has been concentrated in one region of the country – the South.
It may very well be the case that the tens of thousands of voters who have backed O’Malley in the South may be doing so as a form of protest – particularly among conservative Democrats who are neither smitten with Hillary Clinton (as a former member of the Barack Obama administration) or the more liberal ‘Democratic socialist’ Bernie Sanders.
To date, the former Maryland governor has won north of one percent of the primary vote in six southern states.
That tally includes Tuesday’s primary in Kentucky where O’Malley won 1.3 percent, or 5,700+ votes – a small margin, but still greater than the difference between Clinton and Sanders.
Clinton outdueled Sanders by just shy of 2,000 votes. Another 5.3 percent of Kentucky Democrats were ‘uncommitted.’
O’Malley’s best showings of the cycle came in Oklahoma on Super Tuesday (March 1st) and in Florida on March 15th where he notched 2.3 percent in each state.
Last week, O’Malley turned in his third best performance of the primary season in West Virginia with 1.6 percent.
The former governor also won 1.3 percent in Clinton’s home state of Arkansas on Super Tuesday and 1.1 percent on March 15th in North Carolina.
It should be noted the anti-Obama 2012 primary vote was exceedingly high in some of these Southern states: 42.9 percent in Oklahoma, 42.2 percent in Kentucky, 41.6 percent in Arkansas, 40.7 percent in West Virginia, and 20.8 percent in North Carolina.
O’Malley’s name was not on the ballot in his home state of Maryland on April 26th.
Overall, O’Malley has performed more than three times better in the South (averaging 0.93 percent across 14 states) than the Northeast, Midwest, and West (averaging 0.30 percent across 10 states).
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1. O’Malley’s (relatively) strong showing in the Southern section ought not be all that surprising, given that a) his rhetoric, particularly his “black lives matter, white lives matter, ALL lives matter!” refrain seems both reassuring and relatable to centrist and centre-right Scots-Irish Ds and non-Ds; b) his lifelong home state is, by (historical) definition, a “Southern” state (aside from distinguishing him as the only lifetime Democrat, as opposed to a D by conversion or convenience); and c) his role as the equivalent of “none of these” (an option currently available only in NV – one that is at the moment promoted by Senator Dean H for the “NeverTrump” and “NeverHRC” voting blocs).
2. While “Shrillery” aruably does not need the aforementioned “outlier” states (including her FORMER home state, and even her onetime intrastate political nemesis Huckabee’s current home state) in order to cobble the “270+” it does underscore the tenuous degree of support she garners across “Dixie” (unlike BHO and even Border Stater Biden, she, though no longer making a home there, has spent decades honing her political skills alongside her spouse, who she recently designated as the national economy czar – or something to that effect).