SIOUX CITY | Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley stood in the center of his tightly packed Sioux City campaign office Friday night and told 70 people they need to prove political prognosticators wrong when the Iowa caucuses play out Monday.
O'Malley said he knows there will be pressure at the caucus precinct events to move to the other two Democratic candidates, former first lady Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who lead by a wide margin in polls.
A former Maryland governor, O'Malley said Iowans should elevate him, as they did when fellow Democrat Barack Obama won the state and went on to win the presidency twice.
"You are not intimidated by polls. You are not intimidated by pundits," O'Malley said.
"Lift up a new leader, because we've never needed new leadership more than we've needed it now. We are going through a time of division, a time of polarization."
In a 40-minute stop heavy on questions from the crowd, O'Malley said America needs a president who will push common sense policies to aid the working class and to close the gap between the lower pay women sometimes receive than men.
"Seventy percent of us are still earning the same or less than we did 12 years ago. There is a growing opportunity gap, a growing income inequality," he said.
On other issues, O'Malley said he supports comprehensive immigration reform to give a path to citizenship for undocumented residents. He also said he is worried the hard-line statements by Republican candidates such as Donald Trump have led too many Americans to think that "shredding the Constitution" is necessary to halt terrorism.
Charlie Prochelo, of Sioux City, said he has been an O'Malley supporter since summer 2015. Prochelo said O'Malley fleshes out policy plans better than Sanders and said he thinks it is time to move on from family political dynasties.
"We don't need another Clinton. We don't need another Bush," Prochelo said. "(O'Malley) is a governor and he has experience that he has demonstrated."