Deval Patrick is running — or at least reportedly will be soon.
The former Massachusetts governor has told fellow Democrats that he plans to enter the party’s presidential primary race, reversing course on his decision last year not to run, CNN and The New York Times reported Wednesday afternoon.
Patrick is reportedly expected to make an official announcement later this week. The deadline to file candidacy papers in New Hampshire is Friday.
According to CNN, his announcement could come as early as Thursday with a video or social media message, followed by a formal appearance Friday in the Granite State to file his papers.
Patrick would join Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a fellow Bay State Democrat, in the already crowded race. When asked about earlier reports that he might join the field, Warren — who filed papers in New Hampshire herself Wednesday afternoon — told reporters that she hadn’t spoken with Patrick and declined to speculate about how he would impact the race.
Multi-part Q about Deval Patrick: Have you spoken to Patrick, does it complicate your campaign if he gets in; comment on how he’s no a stranger to the corporate world?
Warren: “No, no, and I’m not here to criticize other Democrats.”
— MJ Lee (@mj_lee) November 13, 2019
The late-stage entrance into the 2020 race could present significant barriers; Patrick would have to catch up in fundraising and building a campaign infrastructure, and the deadlines for state primary ballots in Alabama and Arkansas have already passed.
He is also likely to face scrutiny over his corporate ties. Since leaving the governor’s office, Patrick has worked as a social-impact investment manager at Bain Capitol, which he has defended since the company became a target for Democrats in the 2012 presidential election. Patrick has also taken flak for past corporate work at Texaco, Coca-Cola, and Ameriquest Mortgage.
“I’ve never taken a job where I’ve left my conscience at the door, and I haven’t started now,” he told CNN last year.
The Atlantic reported earlier this week that Patrick is considering skipping the Iowa caucus to focus his attention on New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary and South Carolina, where the Democratic electorate is heavily African-American.
As a fellow Democrat with roots in Chicago, Patrick is a longtime friend of former President Barack Obama — who has remained neutral in the party’s 2020 primary race — and has reportedly been urged to run for president by Obama’s inner circle dating back to 2017. Michelle Obama, the former first lady, even reportedly met with Patrick’s wife, Diane, last year to persuade her to embrace a potential White House run.
Patrick himself had been open about considering it, but his campaign never came to fruition over the course of the next 12 months. In December, Patrick announced that, despite all the encouragement, he had decided against running, citing the “cruelty of our elections process” and the toll it would take on his family.
However, The New York Times reported Monday night that the former governor was reconsidering his decision, amid worries about the current crop of candidates.
Patrick, who recently joined CBS News as a political contributor, has been lightly critical of Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden, two of the current frontrunners in the race.
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) October 16, 2019
Following last month’s Democratic debate, he said Warren’s answer on paying for Medicare-for-All was “enormously frustrating” and said he thought Biden would have been “crisper.”
“I have always felt his support was soft,” Patrick said of the former vice president, “and it feels like his campaign is contracting rather than expanding.”
In September, Patrick expressed a desire for a Democratic candidate focused on bringing people together, and some allies apparently think he could pull it off.
“If anybody is capable of catching [lightning] in a bottle, it’s him,” Tim Murrary, who served a Patrick’s lieutenant governor, told the Times.