Kansas City, Missouri (CNN)Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley isn't worried about Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' recent surge in the polls because, in his view, the Vermont senator is the candidate of the summer, not the eventual winner.
O'Malley connects Sanders' surge to Trump's
After speaking at the National Council of La Raza in Kansas City, O'Malley told reporters that Sanders' recent surge is because "this is the summer of anger and discontent," casting the liberal senator as more of a flash in the pan.
"I think you see that anger and disconnect being expressed in the Republican Party by Donald Trump," O'Malley said, comparing the liberal senator with the Republican businessman whose campaign has been most known for celling Mexican immigrants "murders" and "rapists."
Recent polls have shown Sanders, the self-described Democratic socialist, rocketing to a clear second place in the presidential race. O'Malley, meanwhile, has stagnated in most national polls and ticked up slightly in early states like New Hampshire and Iowa.
Sanders' surge in the polls come at the same time he is drawing thousands of people to events in Maine, Wisconsin and Iowa.
"Soon we will all be on the same platform, we will have a debate, we will have an exchange of ideas," O'Malley said. "And I am looking forward to that. I think senator Sanders voice is a welcome and good one for us now to have in our own party."
Asked if he was comparing Trump and Sanders, O'Malley backed off his previous comments.
"I think they are both surging in June and July," he said. "You guys have smarter pundits than me."
O'Malley said he hasn't been surprised by the surge, and says it's not the first time it's happened in presidential run history.
"I think history is full of examples of not only the inevitable frontrunner being inevitable right up until caucus night, but also the candidates that is surging in June is never the candidate who is surging in January," O'Malley said.
Seemingly joking, O'Malley said his campaign was "making sure we don't peak too soon," but was hopeful because "campaigns in Iowa and New Hampshire are very much a living room to living room, town hall to town square sort of exercise."