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Posted at 7:38 AM ET, 02/ 3/2011

O'Malley to nominate brother as Maryland Democratic Party chairman

By John Wagner

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is planning to nominate his younger brother and long-time political confidant, Peter O'Malley, as the next chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party, according to party sources.

Peter O'Malley, 40, has played key roles in Martin O'Malley's campaigns for more than 20 years, including both of his gubernatorial bids. He also served as chief of staff to former Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith (D).

Peter O'Malley was widely credited with helping engineer his brother's stronger-than-expected performance last year in Baltimore County in particular, where the governor edged out former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) in Ehrlich's political base. Statewide, O'Malley beat Ehrlich by more than 14 percentage points.

Peter O'Malley's nomination, which was first reported Thursday morning by the Baltimore Sun, is expected to be approved at a Democratic party meeting next month. The nominations of sitting Democratic governors in Maryland are typically accepted without much debate. The position of party chairman is unpaid.

A source said the governor expects to get some flak from Republicans about nominating his brother but added that Peter O'Malley's work is very well-known and well-respected among leading Democrats.

"Anyone who's been involved in Maryland politics over the past 20 years knows this is a great thing for the Democratic party," said Steve Kearney, a former communications director for the governor. "Like with everything else he does, I'm sure Peter will do a great job."

Peter O'Malley will succeed Susan Turnbull as party chairman. She is stepping down.

By John Wagner  | February 3, 2011; 7:38 AM ET
Categories:  Governor, John Wagner  
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Next: New Jersey's Christie strikes back at O'Malley

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