"I still see JFK in him," said Mohammad Siddique, a Montgomery County project manager, as he left a nighttime rally in Rockville, hands thrust in pockets to keep warm.

"Part of it is probably the Irish, but he is inspiring. I think someday he will live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue."

Mr. Siddique, who was speaking to the Washington Post, would not be the only person who sees a White House future for Maryland governor Martin O'Malley who has kicked off his campaign for re-election as Maryland governor this week.

O'Malley ,46, has it all, good looks, youthful energy, passionate commitment to the little guy and a speaking style and back story that politicians pray for - and remind many of JFK.

O'Malleyand his wife Katie, a District Court Judge, have two daughters, Grace and Tara, and two sons William and Jack. They are members of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church.

He is Irish of course, has a massive knowledge of Irish history and current affairs, used to play in his own Irish rock band and still manasge a gig or two with O'Malley's March.

No other Irish American politician comes close when it comes to measuring his knowledge of Irish issues

That does not mean it will be easy however. He is facing a tough re-election race against the man he defeated four years ago, Robert Ehrlich who is back and spoiling for a fight.

O'Malley is ready. The profile in The Washington Post noted once again that he already seems to be focused on a larger stage.

"O'Malley's opening speeches seemed geared as much for a national audience as the one in Maryland. Some phrases, such as "unity of spirit and matter," were familiar for a governor known to slip in obscure Irish verse into his speeches." the paper stated.

Polls show O'Malley with about a nine per cent lead over Ehrlich, not bad numbers in a year when incumbents are under ferocious pressure.

O'Malley's approval ratings of 46 per cent would also gladden the heart of many incumbent governor's across the country.

But he cannot afford to rest on his laurels. This is a year when incumbents are threatened, no matter how secure they look.

Beyond 2010 if he is re-elected, some can not help speculating what might be for O'Malley in the future.

By 2014 he would have completed a second term and Barack Obama could well be on the final leg of his White House era.

The search for a dynamic successor in the Democratic Party will take place and O'Malley could be perfectly positioned.

But that is all in the future. O'Malley has to win second term first.

Right now the odds are that he will.