Martin O’Malley visits Ames before caucus

Democratic presidential candidate, Martin O’Malley, visits the Torrent Brewing Company. O’Malley spoke on his progress in his state as governor and how he was planning to bring those ideas to the White House, as well as answered questions from the public.

Rakiah Bonjour

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley was in Ames on Wednesday night for a campaign rally just five days before the Iowa caucus, touting his experience as Baltimore mayor and governor to garner support for his campaign.

While O’Malley played nice toward fellow Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, he took a jab at — without naming — Republican candidate Donald Trump for his recent comments.

“When the guy who is in the forefront of the Republican party is a man who makes increasingly more racist, fascist appeals, who says outrageous things like if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue his poll numbers still wouldn’t go down — this should tell all of us that this is no ordinary campaign year,” O’Malley said. 

And while it is no ordinary campaign year, caucuses are right around the corner. Currently sitting at only a few percentage points in most polls, he is hoping his supporters will “hold strong” to gain that needed 15 percent threshold he needs to be viable for Monday.

“I’m telling all my supporters to hold strong,” O’Malley said. “Work as hard as you can to persuade a few people and lift us up in those precincts where we are short on viability, lift us up to viability, and in other precincts we will walk in with viability.”

O’Malley believes his consistent approach he takes to his issues such as education, clean energy and gun reform will get that needed support.

“Of the three of us running, one of us has been remarkably consistent throughout the years on [gun safety], and that person is me,” O’Malley said. “I intend to be relentless in pursuing comprehensive gun safety legislation … and requiring background checks.”

O’Malley will be back in Ames on Monday to host a town hall event before the caucus that evening. His idea of what the Iowa people need is what makes him think the caucus will be a successful effort.

“I believe that the people of Iowa are looking for a new leader,” he said. “Iowa likes a fighter … I’ve been here on other occasions where John Kerry they never saw coming. Gary Hart was at 3.5 percent before finishing second place on caucus night. There is a fight and it’s going to be a good one.”

Kayla Flyckt, graduate student in biochemistry, is still undecided for caucus night but because she says O’Malley has the best comprehensive clean energy plan, she thinks he could sway her.

“I really like his ideas about climate change and a green future,” Flyckt said.

Max McReynolds, graduate student in plant biology, is interested in using bio-renewables, which O’Malley supports.

“It seems really cool a presidential candidate is pushing for that,” McReynolds said.

While some news outlets and the Democratic debates have been focusing on the battle between the two front-running candidates Sanders and Clinton, O’Malley said people are starting to notice their other options for this race.

“The only opinion I care about are the people of Iowa and what they’re going to do on caucus night,” O’Malley said. “I think a whole lot of people in Iowa, based on the crowd I see here tonight, tuned into what they saw in the last forum and they saw that they … actually have a third choice with executive experience and track record of bringing people together.”