We knew it was coming but Martin O’Malley has damn near made if official – he is running against Hillary for president.

In a front page article The New York Times has pegged Maryland governor Martin O’Malley as Hillary Clinton’s main opponent for the Democratic nomination for president.

For his part the Maryland governor tells the paper he is “seriously considering a run” the furthest he has gone so far in committing.

In a lengthy profile the Times reporter Jason Horowitz says the 51-year old with Mayo and Galway roots “positions himself as the party’s fresh alternative to the 67-year-old Mrs. Clinton.”

The article follows O’Malley as he plays a gig with his Celtic rock band O’Malley’s March, sips Guinness, campaigns in South Carolina and gives every indication that he will challenge the frontrunner.

Horowitz points out that O’Malley has campaigned for the nomination harder than anyone, including Clinton, adding, “The governor gets the midterms attendance ribbon, having campaigned for more than 150 Democratic candidates and visited Iowa four times since June.”

As for his long shot status in a race that seems dominated by Clinton, O’Malley told The Times: “They would say that about anyone who was contemplating doing this as a relative unknown,....But history is full of relative unknowns who go and do the hard work, put together a more compelling framework for our country’s future, and go out and campaign.”

O’Malley also discusses the “big generational shift” occurring in politics, an obvious jab at the lengthy Clinton era.

While he refuses to criticize Clinton personally, O’Malley does take aim at President Obama suggesting that Obama had failed to build up the Democratic Party. “For my part, I found you have to make your party strong,” he said, taking issue with those “who would like to believe that we are in a post-partisan era.”

He also criticized Obama’s weakness on foreign policy and allowing ISIS to fester.

“It is at great risk to our national interest and national security to ever become disengaged from the broader world,” he said, adding, “Very often messes get worse the longer they go unattended.”

He also criticizes Obama for sending unattended children back from the border to the country they had fled.

His political mentor Gary Hart endorses his run. “He should run, not only for his own sake but I think for the party’s sake,” Hart said of O’Malley, "I don’t believe in coronations."

Several times in the profile O’Malley is depicted opening a can of Guinness and rehearsing with his Irish band, but it is the warm support he receives from African Americans in South Carolina that is striking.

As mayor of Baltimore, a city that is 60 percent black, O’Malley received high marks for his handling of racial issues.

Up on stage in South Carolina at a black festival O’Malley captivated the crowd with his “Afro Celtic Spirit” rendition “the kind of synthesis of Irish and Black support he will need in his run for president."

It seems he has broken from the gate running.