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California Democrats get an outside perspective

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who spoke at the California Democratic convention in Los Angeles this weekend, sized up for The Times a very different gathering taking place in his home state.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference in Oxon Hill, Md., Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul won the straw poll of potential 2016 presidential candidates.

“I think that’s probably the first and last election Rand Paul will win in Maryland,” O’Malley said in an interview.

O’Malley has his own eye on a 2016 White House bid, though he demurred when asked for details.

“I can tell you that it’s something that I’m looking at, and in the meantime, I’m governing my own state and I’m in the middle of the legislative session,” he said.

California’s vast trove of Democratic donors would be critical if he were to run, and the state could play a role in the Democratic nominating process. During his visit to Los Angeles, O’Malley met with elected officials including Gov. Jerry Brown, Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris and legislators, as well as labor leaders.

“It’s always good to spend some time with Governor Brown,” O’Malley said. “California is doing better now because he was able to square his shoulders and make tough decisions, and California’s creating jobs again.”

O’Malley addressed thousands of delegates and guests Saturday afternoon, delivering a well-received speech that touted his efforts to turn Baltimore around, pitched the importance of helping the middle class and slashed at congressional and tea party Republicans.

“We will succeed or we will fail together, and we will rise or we will fall together,” he concluded. “We cannot allow ourselves to become the first generation of Americans to give our children a country of less.

"This is not a matter of wishing or hoping," he said. "It’s a matter of believing and taking action.”

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seema.mehta@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATSeema

 

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