Former Gov. Deval Patrick Announces Presidential Bid, Files for NH Primary

Patrick, a close ally of former President Barack Obama, made history as Massachusetts' first black governor

What to Know

  • Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announced his bid for the presidency Thursday in a video posted online
  • Patrick filed to enter New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary Thursday morning, just a day before the deadline
  • Patrick served as Massachusetts' governor from 2007 to 2015 and stumped for Democratic candidates in last year's elections

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is officially in the race for the Oval Office.

The Democrat announced his bid for the presidency Thursday morning in an online video. His announcement comes after days of speculation that he might run for office.

Patrick followed up his announcement by visiting the New Hampshire State House in Concord to file paperwork to enroll in the state's first-in-nation primary.

"I am excited, I am humbled, and I am fired up to launch my candidacy for president of United States," he said afterward.

"I have lived my American dream," Patrick added. "But I know and you know that the American dream has become more and more out of reach over time. It has gotten worse under the current leadership of our current president, but it didn't start under the leadership of our current president."

He also spoke about the current Democratic field of candidates and the difficulty he faces entering the race at this late stage.

"It's a big and talented field, and it's hard to break through, not just because it's this stage in the election, but it's hard to break through without being a celebrity or sensational," he said. "I'm neither of those things."

Patrick is the second Bay State politician to enter the crowded field of Democratic hopefuls as U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren also aims for the presidency. U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts was also a candidate, but has since dropped out of the race.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, a Republican, is also in the presidential race. He filed for the New Hampshire primary Nov. 13.

In a YouTube video posted on his campaign site, Patrick reflects on his upbringing in Chicago's South Side and says that while he was able to live the American Dream, he has "seen the path to that dream gradually closing off bit by bit."

"This time it’s about whether the day after the election, America will keep her promises. This time, it’s about more removing an unpopular and divisive leader, as important as that is, but about delivering, instead, for you.”

"In the spirit of profound gratitude for all the country has given to me, and with the determination to build a better, more sustainable, more inclusive American Dream for the next generation, I am today announcing my candidacy for president of the United States," Deval says in the video.

Earlier this year, the 63-year-old had said he wouldn't run citing family concerns among other reasons: "It would be pretty tough to break in without being shrill or sensational or a celebrity."

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick will enter the fray to seek the Democratic nomination for the 2020 presidential race.

The Democrat's announcement comes close to the New Hampshire primary filing period's deadline, which is Friday.

Patrick’s announcement also comes as some Democrats worry about the strength of the party’s current field of contenders. Another Democrat — former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg — is also weighing a last-minute bid for the party’s nomination.

Bloomberg has taken steps toward launching a presidential campaign, filing candidate papers in Alabama and Arkansas. Even 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton this week said in a BBC interview that she is "under enormous pressure from many, many, many people to think about it," adding that she has no such plans but still would "never, never, never say never."

The moves reflect uncertainty about the direction of the Democratic contest with no commanding front-runner. Joe Biden entered the race as the presumptive favorite and maintains significant support from white moderates and black voters, whose backing is critical in a Democratic primary. But he’s facing spirited challenges from Patrick’s home-state senator, Elizabeth Warren, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, progressives whose calls for fundamental economic change have alarmed moderates and wealthy donors.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is debating whether he wants to make a late run for the Oval Office.

Patrick could present himself as a potential bridge across the moderate, liberal and progressive factions — as candidates like Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Cory Booker are trying to do.

But the former governor faces significant hurdles to raise enormous amounts of money quickly and to build an organization in the traditional early voting states that most of his rivals have focused on for the past year. And he’ll have to pivot to the expensive and logistically daunting Super Tuesday contests, when voters in more than a dozen states and territories head to the polls. Bloomberg’s team has said they will skip the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina to focus on the Super Tuesday roster.

It’s also a near certainty that Patrick — and possibly Bloomberg — wouldn’t make a Democratic debate stage until January, if at all, because of debate rules set by the party.

A former managing director for Bain Capital, Patrick has close ties to Wall Street donors. As the first black governor of Massachusetts and only the nation’s second elected black governor since Reconstruction, Patrick also could run as a historic boundary breaker trying to dent Biden’s support among African Americans — though Harris and Booker, the only two black Democrats in the Senate, have been unable to do that thus far.

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