O’Malley joins Sanders on Clinton’s left

Hillary Clinton remains very likely to win the Democratic presidential nomination next year. But the cakewalk she was hoping for now features two lesser mortals who will at least be flinging frosting at her along the way.

Joining Vermont’s socialist senator, Bernie Sanders, in the mix is former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, who kicked off his campaign on Saturday with a rally in Baltimore. Yesterday, the one-time Baltimore mayor was in New Hampshire, where voters could get to see him up close.

O’Malley wasted no time in contrasting his ready availability to that of Clinton, who is getting lots of flak for walling herself off from spontaneous encounters with voters and reporters. “I don’t know of any other way to campaign except to make yourself available, that’s the way I’ve always campaigned,” O’Malley said at a stop in Manchester.

Sanders is charging hard at Clinton from the left, and he has more traction that one might have expected, says the Globe‘s Scot Lehigh, who dropped in on a Sanders event in Concord last week. “Sanders clearly has a constituency here,” Lehigh wrote on Saturday, “and at time when income inequality has moved his core concerns more into the mainstream, it’s not just the aging half-hip, half-hippie set or long-time lefty day-dreamers.”

O’Malley is also trying to grab a foothold to Clinton’s left, positioning himself as the more youthful and polished progressive alternative. There may be room for a strong voice to her left in the race, but it’s not clear there’s enough oxygen for two of them. Steve McMahon, a DC-based Democratic consultant, tells the Herald‘s Hillary Chabot that O’Malley and Sanders are likely to split the anti-Hillary vote.

O’Malley is giving himself a bit of a lefty political makeover. He endorsed Clinton in 2008 and has been a long-time member of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council that defined Bill Clinton‘s rise to power. O’Malley could nevertheless find an opening among those not swooning over Clinton, but not able to see Sanders as a viable choice.

Sanders and O’Malley will both make the race better and force Clinton to address issues with more clarity. Presuming that she does emerge with the nomination next summer, Clinton will be a better general election candidate if there is at least some semblance of a primary contest, rather than a coronation. O’Malley is no doubt hoping for something more than that, banking on the chance the race takes a turn no one can now see, and he’s the one there to capitalize on it.

–MICHAEL JONAS

 

BEACON HILL

The Eagle-Tribune editorializes in support of a Senate budget amendment that would require the state auditor to document state mandates imposed on cities and towns and recommend elimination of some mandates affecting schools.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Lawrence debates what to do with nine miles of very rundown alleys. (Eagle-Tribune)

Boston plans a major upgrade for a bedraggled section of Boston Common. (Boston Globe)

Cities and towns make it hard to gain access to public records. (Eagle-Tribune)

Lynn Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy calls $151 million school spending proposal “nowhere near reality.” (Item)

OLYMPICS

Is the discourse in the Boston 2024 debate getting out of hand? (Associated Press)

Senate President Stan Rosenberg told Keller@Large he supports the Olympic bid for Boston but worries that it can’t be done without taxpayer money, which he opposes.

RELIGION

Services Sunday at the former St. Frances Cabrini Church in Scituate may have been the last for parishioners who were ordered by a judge to abandon their decade-long occupation and leave the building by the end of the week. (Patriot Ledger)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Secretary of State John Kerry breaks a leg in while bicycling in the Alps on Sunday. (Associated Press). His work on an Iranian nuclear deal will have to wait as he prepares to be flown to Boston from Geneva for treatment on the fractured femur. (Boston Globe)

The Senate let key parts of the Patriot Act expire at midnight as Sen. Rand Paul blocked action on an extension to the statute allowing the government to collect phone records. (New York Times) Sen. John McCain unloaded on his fellow Republican, who is running for president, saying Paul “would be the worst candidate we could put forward.” (Boston Herald)

U.S. News & World Report ranks all the presidents by estimated IQ and concludes the smartest presidents make the best presidents.

Beau Biden, the oldest son of Vice President Joe Biden, died on Saturday of brain cancer at age 46. (Boston Globe) His death has unleashed a bipartisan wave of sympathy and expressions of affection for the vice president, who has already endured the unspeakable loss of his first wife and a daughter in a 1972 auto accident just as he prepared to take office as US senator. (New York Times) The Washington Post explores how those losses bookended Biden’s political life.

Fed-up with the corruption and government waste that the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics unleashed, Brazilians hail FIFA arrests. (Christian Science Monitor)

ELECTIONS

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says he’d be willing to play an active role in battling against a 2016 ballot question legalizing marijuana, a degree of involvement that other opponents of legalization, such as Gov. Charlie Baker, don’t seem eager to match. (Boston Globe)

There’s always room for more, apparently. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is expected to announce his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination today. (New York Times)

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is packing them in in Iowa. (New York Times)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

US companies are buying buy their own stock at extraordinary rates, a practice that helps drive share prices up and enriches top executives, while throwing thousands out of work as companies reinvest far less in the business and its workers. (Boston Globe)

While the office supplier Staples is struggling, its CEO’s pay is not. (Boston Globe)

Smartphone malware is starting to make a mark. (Boston Herald)

EDUCATION

State education commissioner Mitchell Chester will announce his selection for Holyoke schools receiver this afternoon at Holyoke High School. (MassLive) CommonWealth teed up the likely state takeover of the Holyoke schools in this spring issue feature story.

Advocates say Massachusetts schools should be screening for dyslexia. (Salem News)

HEALTH CARE

Partners HealthCare launches its $1.2 billion digital patient record system, the largest single biggest investment the health care behemoth has ever made. (Boston Globe)

A new study indicates two drugs used together can shrink tumors by 60 percent in patients with advanced-stage melanoma. (Time)

Advocacy groups along with the maker of a drug known as “Viagra for women” that restores libido in women are accusing the Food and Drug Administration of sexism by approving 25 drugs on the market to treat erectile dysfunction but nothing for women. (New York Times)

TRANSPORTATION

A problem with parts for the new Fore River Bridge at the Weymouth-Quincy line, slated for completion next year, has put the project behind schedule but state officials aren’t sure how long. (Patriot Ledger)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Three officials from the Acadia Center begin a three-part series on energy issues confronting New England. Their first point: The region isn’t facing an energy crisis. (CommonWealth)

Lawyers for a regional bulk energy-buying consortium on the South Coast representing customers in 21 communities say they are making progress with state officials who expressed concern the plans did not meet requirements under state statute, (Herald News)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Two people are stabbed at a Tufts University frat house. (Time)

Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello says he has no idea how many people will take him up on his so-called Angel Project, which offers help rather than a jail cell to those struggling with addiction. (Gloucester Times)

The Boston Police Department and the State Police continue to joust over who should patrol areas of the new Seaport district owned by Massport. (Boston Globe)

Worcester’s new bicycle patrol unit finds that people are more willing to approach those officers with information about neighborhood goings-on. (MassLive)

MEDIA

Debate continued last week over a CommonWealth Download item on a column by the Globe‘s Shirley Leung, with Leung herself saying the item “mildly offended” her, while the Beat the Press team at WGBH pronounced the controversy much ado about not very much. Globe editor Brian McGrory set off the debate with a harsh letter to CommonWealth that he leaked to Jim Romenesko.