O’Malley Suspends Presidential Campaign
Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley ended his Democratic presidential campaign midway through vote-counting in the Iowa caucuses. O’Malley’s decision on Monday, Feb. 1 marks an end to his eight-month long campaign that ultimately failed to gain traction against rival Democratic frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
“I want to thank everyone who came out to our events and lent me their ear and everyone who went out to caucus for me tonight,” O’Malley said in a farewell speech to his supporters in Des Moines, Iowa. “When I got into this 8 months ago, I had no doubt that it would be anything but a tough fight. And it is a tough fight. But I have always been drawn to a tough fight, no matter how insurmountable it may be” (ABC, “Martin O’Malley Suspends Presidential Campaign,” 02.01.16).
As a former two-term governor and mayor of Baltimore, O’Malley sought to portray himself throughout his campaign as an experienced and capable executive that was successful in pushing through key parts of the Democratic agenda in Maryland, including gun control, support for gay marriage and an increase in the minimum wage (New York Post, “Martin O’Malley drops out of Democratic race for president,” 02.01.16). However, despite these efforts, the ex-governor struggled to raise money throughout his campaign, and ultimately failed to garner double-digit support from national polls – a trend that highlighted at the Iowa caucuses, where O’Malley registered support from a meager 0.6% of caucus-goers in comparison to Sanders’s 49.6% and Clinton’s 49.9% (Forbes, “The Iowa Caucus: Live Results,” 02.01.16).
“It was a tough campaign,” O’Malley said. “We fought very, very hard in order to give the people a choice, and the people made their choice tonight” (CNN, “Martin O’Malley, Mike Huckabee end presidential campaign,” 02.01.16).
Despite his resignation, O’Malley’s campaign team reflected positively on O’Malley’s presidential run, as well as the ex-governor’s role in the nominations. “He ran an energetic and honorable campaign – leading the field with the most bold progressive policy proposals,” said one campaign source. “He successfully pushed the other candidates on gun safety, immigration, and climate policy in ways few others could” (ABC).
—Ethan Baratz, Guest Reporter
Oregon Militants Arrested in Shoot-out
On Jan. 26, police arrested five members of the Oregon Militants including a leader of their armed occupation Ammon Bundy en route to John Day, Ore. One militant was also fatally wounded during the arrests.
On the same day, two militants faced arrest in Burns, Ore., and another militant submitted to law enforcement in Arizona. The FBI and Oregon State Police wanted the group for allegedly taking up armed occupation of federal property for 26 days, releasing cattle to illegally graze on refuge territory and dismantling fences and security cameras in Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
FBI Special Agent Katherine Armstrong submitted a criminal complaint and affidavit charging each of the eight defendants with conspiracy to block the work of federal officers, citing the group’s distributed media such as videos and Facebook (Oregon Public Broadcasting, “Militants Appear In Federal Court, Bundy Calls for End to Standoff,” 01.27.16).
The militants’ occupation stemmed from their anger with federal policies restricting the usage of government-owned land. Bundy justified the group’s actions as an act of civil disobedience for the sake of defending common access to nature’s bounty (CNN, “Malheur refuge occupation arrests: What happened and what happens next?” 01.27.16).
An aerial video of the scene shows their two vehicles stopped on a highway blocked by police SUVs. After a several-minute stand-off, the lead vehicle sped past the initial traffic stop. Law enforcement, however, was stationed before and behind the breakaway vehicle on the single road. The breakaway vehicle veered left to avoid a roadblock setup by several pickup trucks, but was mired in the snow flanking the highway.
The driver of one vehicle exited and police fired shots when Finicum reached for the concealed handgun in his waistband. Law enforcement proceeded to subdue remaining occupants of the vehicle with flash-bombs to daze the militants (ABC News, “FBI Shows Video of Tuesday Shooting of Occupier,” 01.28.16).
The arrests left four militants in the Malheur reserve. Within 24 hours, Bundy relayed to remaining militants, “Go home and hug your families. This fight is ours for now in the courts” (BBC, “Oregon leader Bundy tells remaining protestors to go home,” 01.28.16).
—Clark Xu, Guest Reporter