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Martin O'Malley campaign looks more likely

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley arrives to speak during the 2015 Alfred K. Whitehead Legislative Conference and Presidential Forum March 10, 2015 in Washington, DC.

Alex Wong, Getty Images

Democrat Martin O'Malley's supporters say the former Maryland governor is increasingly likely to run for president, making him one of the few Democrats who may challenge former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Some of the more than 150 backers who gathered at the Baltimore Hilton for what was billed as an "issues conference" told the Washington Post that O'Malley didn't specifically address his 2016 plans but appeared upbeat about challenging Clinton.

"I think he's energized by the reception he got this past weekend in Iowa," Rob Werner, a supporter from New Hampshire who attended the conference, told the Post. "I think he's poised to do it, to get in the race. He certainly seems to be heading in that direction."

Another Democratic activist, South Carolinian Phil Noble, said that the recent scandal surrounding Clinton's use of a private email address during her time at the State Department has created an opening for potential challengers.

"A month or so ago, there was a view that Hillary's it," Noble said. "Now, there's a view that there is room for an alternative, and O'Malley's on the radar screen."

At the very least, it's cause enough for people to give O'Malley a second look. Vincent Sheheen, who ran as a Democrat for South Carolina governor in 2010 and 2014, said he came to the conference to see if the former Maryland governor was "serious."

"I think he's a legitimate candidate and contender," Sheheen said.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.