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O’Malley warns of ‘tough days’ but vows to tap opportunity

In a short victory speech Tuesday night, Gov. Martin O’Malley returned to many of his recurring campaign themes, telling a raucous crowd the state has the opportunity to emerge from the economic downturn leading the new economy.

“I believe we’re on the cutting edge of two decades of creating and healing, and discovering opportunities which our grandparents never would have imagined if we can work together,” O’Malley said, backed by a crowd of current and former Democratic elected officials and cabinet secretaries.

“I want to thank the people of Maryland. I want to thank the people of Maryland for their hard work, for their hope, for their resilience,” O’Malley said.

He spoke for a little more than 12 minutes on the third floor of the Visionary Art Museum, drawing rounds of applause, chanting and cheers from the crowd.

But O’Malley also cautioned his supporters against unbridled optimism and touched on the budget cuts made during his first term, specifically the furloughs taken by state employees.

“We are going to have a lot of tough days ahead of us. We are not out of the deep hole that our country’s economy was driven into,” he said.

O’Malley spokesman Rick Abbruzzese said the governor received congratulatory calls from President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, but has not yet heard from his challenger, former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich.