After deciding he would not be a presidential candidate last year, Deval Patrick cited family concerns among other reasons.
"It would be pretty tough to break in without being shrill or sensational or a celebrity," he said at the time.
Now, amid reports that the former Massachusetts governor is reconsidering, many see the challenge as daunting.
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"He has to get people on the ground, he has to raise a lot of money, he has to get name recognition, he has to get people leaving other candidates to get behind him," said Suffolk University Professor Rachel Cobb.
Others point to his past career as an executive at Exxon and Coca-Cola — and his current job at Bain Capital — as problematic.
"It's a tough sell in the primary," UMass Boston Professor Erin O'Brien said. "Because right now, the mood in the Democratic Party is very anti-big business."
"I think there probably is a path, should he choose to do it," said Alex Goldstein, the former press secretary of the Patrick administration.
Goldstein says a Patrick bid is a longshot at this late stage and with 17 other Democrats in the race. But he feels Patrick's varied experiences in both the public and private sectors would resonate with voters, especially when combined with his compelling life story that began in poverty on Chicago's South Side.
"Gov. Patrick has a way of speaking to people and their anxieties that brings them to a higher place," said Goldstein.
Patrick's oratory skills were adopted, in part, by President Barack Obama, and were the reason why some of Obama's top advisers, like Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod, had encouraged Patrick last year to jump in.
"If, in fact, he's in, give me a canvas packet, send me up to New Hampshire, and I'm ready to start knocking doors," Goldstein said.
Patrick will need to decide by Friday's deadline if he wants to be on the New Hampshire primary ballot.