Baltimore (CNN) – Gov. Martin O’Malley told reporters on Monday that while he is focused on his last year as governor, he is also weighing the possibility of a presidential run in 2016.
“Leadership is important and we will have a need for a new leader once President Obama’s term in office is over,” O’Malley said. “So, I have been preparing in terms of the tough work, the policy work, the ground work necessary to offer a better direction for our country.”
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The governor added that while he is “not here to make an announcement,” he has been “giving the thought time and the preparation to a better way forward for our country for the next eight years.”
O’Malley, who was at St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church in Baltimore for an event focused on raising the minimum wage, has been the focus of 2016 speculation since he told The Washington Post on Saturday that while he has “a great deal of respect for Hillary Clinton,” he can’t wait for the former secretary of state and prohibitive favorite for the Democratic nomination in 2016 to decide whether she will run.
“For my own part, I have a responsibility to prepare and to address the things that I feel a responsibility to address,” he told the Post. “To squander this important period of preparation because of horse-race concerns and handicapping concerns is just not a very productive use of energy.”
O’Malley confirmed what he said in the Post, but he told reporters on Monday that he wasn’t interested in detailing how prominently Clinton will weigh in his decision making process.
“I am not really about the handicapping in this, I will leave that to you all and to others. I am about the thought work necessary,” the governor said. “No one ever goes down this road without giving it a lot of consideration and a lot of preparation and a lot of thought work. And so that is what I am doing.”
Should O'Malley run in 2016, he finds himself as a dark horse candidate in a field dominated by Clinton. In last month's Washington Post/ABC News poll, O'Malley didn't register as one of the candidates Democrats would choose for 2016. In a November 2013 CNN/ ORC International Poll, 2% of Democrats said they would like to see O'Malley nominated for president in 2016.
On the other hand, Clinton – who has yet to declare her candidacy and says she is still mulling a run – has held historic leads over her possible Democratic challengers. In the recent Washington Post/ ABC News poll, 73% of Democrats said they would nominate her to run for the White House in 2016.