By Pat Warren

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—Iowa Democrats shake hands with Maryland’s governor, an important opportunity for any candidate who wants to run for president.

Political reporter Pat Warren reports, it’s Governor O’Malley’s latest stop on what’s become a national stage.

The Harkin Steak Fry is where potential presidential candidates meet Iowa voters.

“That’s not what I’m doing,” O’Malley said. “I’m here ’cause my friend Sen. Harkin asked me to come.”

His campaign season could only be busier if he were actually running for office himself. He chairs the Democratic Governors Association, but it’s widely assumed he’s considering a presidential run in 2016.

What’s next for O’Malley after the governorship?

“I don’t know, and it’s kind of nice not to know,” he said in an interview with WJZ in January.

Since that interview, O’Malley has become a go-to guy for network news shows,  and face-to-face time with voters.

The governor’s trips this year have included the New England states of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts; southern states of Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Louisiana; and Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio in the Midwest and further west, Colorado.

Critics say he’s building a national platform outside the interests of Maryland.

“We’ll be paying for this long after the governor has moved on, the idea that he has to take certain positions that may be advantageous to his personal ambitions but hurt the citizens of Maryland,”  said Sen. E.J. Pipkin, Senate Minority Leader.

“Governor O’Malley has a steep hill to climb,” said political analyst Matthew Crenson, who says it’s too soon to tell where the governor will land.

“We’re talking about an election that’s going to occur four years from now, two years after he leaves office as governor,” Crenson said.

How he’ll keep himself on the national stage is an open question.

O’Malley says he was in Iowa on behalf of the president and as part of his job as the chair of the Democratic Governors Association.


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