Wonk 'n' Roller

MARTIN O'MALLEY / BALTIMORE

ERIKA LARSEN / REDUX FOR TIME

BALTIMORE: O'Malley takes a tour of the city's inner harbor on a police patrol boat

Twice since Martin O'Malley was elected mayor six years ago, Baltimore has been hit by blizzards. Each time, he had city workers phone as many as 25,000 elderly residents to ensure they were O.K. Then he had cops punch through the drifts, carrying bread, milk and toilet paper to those seniors running low. That's a snow job voters appreciate, and it helped re-elect O'Malley with 87% of the vote last year.

O'Malley, 42, has mastered that kind of retail politicking as a lifelong political buff. His parents met while working at the Democratic National Committee, and he was doing cheers for...

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