ANNAPOLIS — Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley took part in an “ask me anything” session on the website Reddit on Monday, but some who participated questioned why he bothered.
O’Malley, a term-limited governor who is thinking about running for president, broke away from the online session for a 10:30 a.m. ceremony Monday to sign legislation to raise Maryland’s minimum wage and other bills. That prompted critics to pelt the Democratic governor for not answering enough questions. He also was criticized for the quality of the answers he provided. But O’Malley later returned to answer more questions after 1 p.m., and he came back for a third round later in the afternoon. By the end of the day, he responded to about 40 questions.
O’Malley said he wanted to take part in the exercise to highlight the minimum wage bill he was signing.
“I also wanted to do this because I wanted to engage directly with the Reddit community about what we’re doing in Maryland,” O’Malley wrote.
But the online venue turned more into a forum for O’Malley critics than a way for the governor to discuss accomplishments.
“Don’t know what’s funnier … this AMA or the fact he wants to run for president…” one participant wrote.
Many of the most critical participants focused on a variety of tax increases O’Malley has supported during his tenure and a sweeping gun-control bill approved last year.
“There was a strong response on both sides of this,” O’Malley said about one of the many questions about the gun-control measure. “I understand that there are plenty of people who were opposed to the bill, but it was an important thing to do to protect Maryland families.”
O’Malley also was asked whether he would support putting the state’s legislative redistricting process in the hands of a non-partisan board. Critics have challenged the state’s process for redrawing its congressional and state legislative districts as being stacked against Republicans in a state government that is controlled by Democrats.
“Yes, I could support non-partisan redistricting if every other state does it,” O’Malley responded.
The governor also was asked about his decision to support decriminalizing marijuana after lawmakers passed a bill this session, and he explained why he is not supporting full legalization now.
“I believe it’s best for Maryland to learn from experiments underway in Colorado and Washington and to be guided according to whether more good than harm is done,” O’Malley said.
The governor avoided questions about any plans to run for president. O’Malley has said he is considering a White House bid.