Katie O'Malley reveals horror stories from the campaign trail
Catherine Curran O'Malley grew up in a political family as the daughter of former state Attorney General J. Joseph Curran. And now she has political family of her own as the wife of Gov. Martin O’Malley. But apparently the first lady never did develop a penchant for the quadrennial bedrock of a politician’s life — the campaign trail. As she admitted on Baltimore’s Center Stage on Friday for her guest appearance in the Stoop Storytelling series, she found campaigning was for the birds.
“Every four years from the time I was a little kid until now, something horrible would occur,” O’Malley said, eliciting the first big laugh. “It was called the Democratic primary.”
A good politician’s wife, Katie O’Malley repeated the caveat that most people she encountered on the campaign trail were “very nice” and “receptive.” But the voters who stuck out most in her mind were the not-so-genial ones. There was the guy who said (and she recalled in a sneering voice), “You’re father’s trying to take my gun away.” Her father had to make up for that frightful experience by buying her a Slurpee. When she got older and bolder and told a menacing man that her father’s campaign didn’t want his family’s 13 votes anyway, she was taken off the trail and put on envelope-stuffing duty.
The worst encounter, though, happened during another election cycle on the Fourth of July parade route in Catonsville.
One parade-goer followed her father and his entourage, calling Joe Curran corrupt and accusing him of being on the take. After five minutes of the badgering, she had had enough. “And I just gave him the bird,” she said, to her biggest laugh of the night. Her husband, the current governor, happened to be her father’s campaign manager at the time. Nonetheless, she was ordered back to envelope stuffing.
So why did she continue in public life with its endless campaign routine? Well, she simply found the best excuse for avoiding the dreaded campaign trail — she became a judge whose political activities are restricted by court ethics laws.
“Now I’m fortunate to be a district court judge, and I don’t have to campaign ever again,” she boasted.
You can catch a replay of the first lady’s 5-minute monologue on the radio. It will air on WYPR - 88.1 FM on July 17 at noon and 7 p.m., and again at those times on July 24.