Fmr. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley at NH1 News for Fiscal Friday on Oct. 16

Oct 26, 2015 4:02 PM

First on NH1 News: O'Malley back to New Hampshire next week

NH1 Political Director -

CONCORD – Martin O’Malley returns to New Hampshire next week.

The former Maryland governor and Democratic presidential candidate will hold a town hall in Manchester on Tuesday, November 3, at 11:15am, followed by town halls at the University of New Hampshire in Durham at 1:00pm and at 6:30pm in Keene, according to O’Malley’s campaign. The trip was first reported on social media by NH1 News.

The filing period for a presidential candidate to place his or her name on the primary ballot begins the next day, so there’s the possibility that if O’Malley extends his visit to the Granite State he’ll make the pilgrimage to Sec. of State Bill Gardner’s office at the State House in Concord.

News of O’Malley’s trip to the first-in-the-nation primary state next week came as top O’Malley campaign officials touted their candidate’s performance Saturday night at the much-watched Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Iowa on Saturday. They also characterized that the hunt for the Democratic presidential nomination is very much a three person race between O’Malley and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the overall front runner, and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who until recently was the undisputed front runner in New Hampshire polling.

“What the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner Saturday night in Iowa showed is that not only does Gov. O’Malley belong on that stage with Sec. Clinton and Sen. Sanders, but that he’s a contender in this race. He got out there and spoke with passion and from the heart,” campaign manager Dave Hamrick told NH1 News and other news organizations on a conference call with reporters Monday.

With the Democratic debate process finally getting underway, with Vice President Joe Biden last week announcing he would not launch a presidential campaign, and former Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia and former Rhode Island governor and senator Lincoln Chafee ending their bids for the Democratic nomination last week, Hamrick said “in our view the campaign has just kicked off.”

“We’re in a three person race and the field has just crystalized and voters are now just starting to tune in and to start to think about who they want to support in this race,” he added.

Hamrick touted O’Malley’s progressive record as a two-term governor, saying the big question going forward for Democratic primary voters is “which candidate can they trust to actually turn progressive values into actions and not just talk about their progressive values but actually have a record of getting them done.”

O’Malley is still a very long shot for the nomination in the most recent polling, trailing far behind Clinton and Sanders. He’s at two percent in New Hampshire in an average of the six public opinion surveys of likely Democratic primary voters conducted after the first presidential debate on Oct. 13. And he’s at three percent in an average of the three polls conducted recently in Iowa, the first caucus state. But the polls were conducted almost entirely before Vice President Biden’s announcement and before Webb and Chafee dropped out.

O’Malley New Hampshire state director John Bivona told reporters that “on his first trip to New Hampshire post-debate we saw increased crowd sizes.”

And he highlighted that “Gov. O’Malley is campaigning the New Hampshire way. We’ve held more public events in New Hampshire than any other Democratic presidential candidate.”

The O’Malley campaign said they have 12 full-time staffers in the Granite State. That pales in comparison to Clinton and Sanders, who each have more than 50 full-time staffers in New Hampshire.

But Hamrick said that the O’Malley campaign has lots of “New Hampshire voters that have experienced this process for decades and are out there talking to their friends and neighbors” about O’Malley, adding “that is more powerful that the number of staffers that a campaign has on the ground.”

The campaign also said they will continue to push for more debates in New Hampshire. The Democratic National Committee has sanctioned six debates, with the early voting states each getting just one. New Hampshire’s debate is scheduled for December 19, during the middle of the holiday season and a month and a half before the February 9 primary.

Former State Sen. Peter Burling of Cornish, an O’Malley for New Hampshire co-chair, vowed that “there will be more debates. The voters in the Democratic Party in New Hampshire are not about to settle for what has been laid on the table so far.”

Last week the O’Malley campaign announced that Burling, Mary Rauh of New Castle, Jay Surdukowski of Concord, and Dave Allen of Manchester will serve as co-chairs. That news came as the campaign showcased endorsements from 21 “leaders across the Granite State.”

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