With the Democratic presidential field in some disarray – Hillary’s growing email woes, Sanders surging, Biden testing the waters – one of the race’s “forgotten” Democrats is coming to the Bay Area next week with a tech-savvy spin.
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will host a civic tech start-up pitch contest Wednesday night at The Hall, a food-vendor and bar venue in San Francisco’s mid-Market area. The competition will feature five candidate teams chosen from a pool of entrepreneurs, each of which will have two minutes to pitch a panel of tech-exec judges with their plans for boosting civic engagement.
On Thursday morning, O’Malley will host a panel of civic tech executives – including the winner from the night before – at the SoMa headquarters of Brigade, a nonpartisan tech startup aimed at increasing political engagement and working toward common goals. The panel will chat about how entrepreneurs can harness technology to transform public service and empower under-served communities.
Other panelists will include leaders in civic tech, including Sid Espinosa, Microsoft’s director of civic engagement and former mayor of Palo Alto; Sam Lessin, former vice president of product at Facebook; Marci Harris, CEO of POPVOX; and Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls Code.
Of course, fundraising is involved too. The Wednesday night event will double as a “happy hour” for which supporters will pay from $100 to $1,000 each (with lower prices for students, interns and young professionals).
O’Malley has yet to make a big impression in this race – his fundraising has been meager, and his national poll numbers have hovered between 1 and 2 percent since he declared candidacy May 30, leaving him way down in the basement with Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee.
But he has been stumping hard in Iowa and insists he’s still in the game. Sanders is a protest candidate in whom most reasonable people will lose interest and Clinton is too centrist, he claims, offering himself as the more reasonable progressive alternative. He does have one notable supporter in the area – Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin, endorsed him in July.