For eight months, former governor Martin O'Malley tried to rally Iowans behind his campaign even sending most of his Maryland mechanism to the Hawkeye State, and from his emptied-out headquarters in Baltimore, volunteer Sonya McGrady watched the end.
"I was very, very sad. You know I was here and I was watching on television,” said McGrady, “So it was a sad affair for the whole committee."
As Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders battled to a near draw, O'Malley barely showed up.
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz served as one of O'Malley's Maryland campaign chairs.
"This is kind of the year of the plain talker. That's kind of why you have the rise of Trump and have the rise of a Bernie Sanders,” said Kamenetz, “Just their demeanor is a little different than what people are accustomed to in politics, and I think that's part of their appeal. So, again, it's all timing."
Baltimore City Councilman Robert Curran, O'Malley's uncle by marriage, agrees that timing worked against him.
"It's unfortunate that I didn't think he got the traction that he thought he may be able to get,” said Curran, “He announced a week before Bernie Sanders, and I don't understand why he didn't get traction, because I believe his appeal to his campaign should have been... Democrats should have been in favor of him throughout the country."
In fact, Curran says if his nephew could have won enough support to keep his campaign alive until Maryland's April primary, he remained confident he could rally to his party's nomination.
"Now, I'm not going to speak for the Republicans in Maryland, but for the Democrats in Maryland, I think Martin would have done very well if he was still an active candidate,” said Curran, “I'm still going to vote for him cause he's still on the ballot."
But it will only serve as a footnote to a campaign that did not survive long enough to see the final tally in the first state where it was put to the test.
"We fought the good fight and we were very clean and that's all that matters,” said McGrady, “The people of Iowa have spoken and you have to respect that and we do."
As for his political future, Curran says you should never count out O'Malley, since he has demonstrated over and over again that he knows how to run a successful campaign Even though this one came up empty.