Getting rid of O’Malley – not so fast

Sen. Barbara Mikulski and Gov. Martin O'Malley (by mdfriendofhillary on Flickr)

Sen. Barbara Mikulski and Gov. Martin O’Malley (by mdfriendofhillary on Flickr)

By Len Lazarick

Some Marylanders have been wanting to get rid of Gov. Martin O’Malley for years, and various schemes have been suggested.

The most common scenario of this wishful thinking by O’Malley detractors was raised just yesterday in a reader comment to a story about the governor’s goals. Sen. Barbara Mikulski would resign, allowing the man who was field director of her first Senate campaign somehow to appoint himself to the seat.

The scenario has always seemed slightly silly, even a few years ago with insistent but never verified rumors of Mikulski health issues. The 76-year-old dean of the Senate women who chairs an Appropriations subcommittee would resign to spend more time with the family she doesn’t have so a freshman senator can burnish his presidential ambitions?

Politics has its irrational side, but that scenario doesn’t make sense. And now that fighting Barb is to become chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, she will likely leave the Capitol as the just-departed chairman Daniel Inouye did at 88 – in a box.

Mikulski is not warm and fuzzy; she is sharp and provocative. She is consistently ranked as the “meanest” member of the Senate by congressional staffers in a biennial Washingtonian magazine poll, but her constituents don’t really care as long as Sen. Barb is fighting for them. In 10 elections, she has never received less than 60% of the vote; 62% two years ago.

Would she leave if Democrats lost control of the Senate in 2014? Would this make her happier or live longer or help Maryland?

How about a cabinet post?

So forget about that. But what about the other party-chatter scenario for O’Malley’s departure as President Obama moves into his second term — a cabinet post? Say homeland security, the agency that oversees popular agencies like transportation security, border patrol and immigration.

Say, governor, how would you like to take on immigration reform at the national level? A little political scarring and bruising doesn’t hurt very much, does it?

There are three ex-governors in the current Obama cabinet and two ex-senators. Two of the three governors, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, were nominated in the midst of their second terms. Sebelius, like O’Malley, is a former chair of the Democratic Governors Association.

Is a cabinet post running a federal agency better for your political career than being governor of a state so close to the Washington media? It’s a mixed bag, but O’Malley in the cabinet would be very good for the political career of Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who could then run for a full-term as the state’s first African American governor.

This is all very speculative, and O’Malley has not tipped his hand on any plans, beyond the fact that he has no plans to retire from public life.


Oh, and then there’s the fervent desire of a few far right wing-nuts to impeach O’Malley over one constitutional crime or other. Researching that last year, I discovered that while the Maryland Constitution says “the Legislature may provide by law … for the impeachment of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor,” the legislators have never gotten around to passing a law describing how and why the governor should be impeached.

About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.


  1. Jim Simpson

    Forget impeachment. How about just throwing him in jail for violating Maryland and U.S. law regarding illegals?

  2. Cindy Walsh

    The problem with all of that is that Maryland is ranked at the bottom nationally for fraud, corruption, and government transparency….it is a virtual crony state. O’Malley has been front and center in the areas we all know to be ground zero for those rankings. O’Malley and his administration, from Anthony Brown and all around are Third Way corporate/globalists who work for wealth and corporations. This stance no longer flies with the democratic base and now that voters are understanding the difference between a Kennedy liberal and a Reagan Third Way liberal, there will not be much of a chance for those corporate types in the democratic party.

    Democratic voters are looking for fiscal progressives and one cannot be maximizing corporate/shareholder profits on the backs of labor and meet that objective. So, I really don’t see O’Malley or his administration doing well in democratic elections in Maryland or nationally.

  3. Dale McNamee

    Suppose that O’Malicious could be removed from office, who will replace him ? Lt. Gov. Brown is the same as O’Malicious…

    And with Maryland voters,,, The ” low information/low IQ”, willfully ignorant, types… I see more of the same…

    I’m disgusted with them beyond words !

  4. Edward Kimmel

    It was kind of a thrill seeing my picture used above. That one has always been one of my favorites, illustrating the genuine affection I have seen between Senator Babs and the Governor on many occasions. Edward Kimmel (aka MdFriendofHillary on Flickr)

  5. abby_adams

    I must admit to wishing O’Malley would be elevated out of MD politics but that ain’t going to happen soon. As a one time supporter & volunteer to his first campaign, I quickly learned that he was just another empty suit making promises he would never keep. Then again, I wasn’t one of the protected groups he needed to reign in to stay in power. As for impeachment, what legislator is “without sin & ready to caste the first stone”? So let it be, Babs gets to bang the gavel & maybe Martin can become the new wind czar. God knows he’s got enough hot air to spare.

  6. joe

    On January 21, 2013 President Obama is going to appoint Maryland’s Governor Martin O’Malley as US Ambassador to Nepal

    • Voter

      He sounds like he is staying if he wants Gun Control. Sandy Hook may had change Obama’s plans that he will not ask a sitting Governor to join his administration if they intend to do some legislation. O’Malley is also included

Support Our Work!

We depend on your support. A generous gift in any amount helps us continue to bring you this service.