“He’s been around these tough campaigns. He’s seen plenty of live ammo,” said Dixon, who has worked with O’Malley since his first run for mayor in 1999.
O’Comartun has earned the trust and respect not only of O’Malley, but of the rest of the governor’s advisers.
“When we can’t communicate with the governor, he’s the guy,” said O’Malley’s longtime pollster Fred Yang. “I know when I’m talking to Colm, I’m talking to the governor. I know I’ll get an honest hearing and he’ll faithfully represent what I’m saying.”
“Colm has been an unsung but indispensable part of the team,” Yang added. “He keeps all aspects of the O’Malley world together. He is the nexus.”
Now O’Comartun is at the center of national Democratic efforts to win as many governorships as possible.
He’s not coming into the position blind. Since O’Malley has held positions in the DGA leadership for three of his first four years in office, O’Comartun has been the governor’s liaison to the committee.
“Every governor has one person,” said Nathan Daschle, the outgoing executive director of the DGA who worked in the job for four years. “Colm is it.”
“Colm has the ability to put politics and policy and message together in a way that the diverse governors in diverse states can rally around,” O’Malley said.
There are some limits to O’Comartun’s versatile service. According to O’Malley, his aide can’t sing and knows nothing about guitars, rendering him useless when it comes to the governor’s famous band O’Malley’s March.
But with his new role at the DGA, O’Comartun has enough to keep him busy.