Deval Patrick Reportedly Considering Late Entry Into Presidential Race

Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is reportedly considering a late entry into the race for the Democratic nomination.

Last week’s news that former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is taking steps that could lead him to enter the race for the Democratic nomination, former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is apparently considering his own late entry into the race:

Former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick is laying the groundwork to enter the presidential race, with an announcement expected as soon as this week, according to two sources with direct knowledge of his plans.

The decision marks yet another reversal that could throw further volatility into the Democratic presidential primary. Patrick, who served two terms ending in 2015 and has close ties to former president Barack Obama and his network of advisers, has been trying to put a team together with a loose plan to announce his campaign by Thursday.

In one complication, he also has been trying to extricate himself from Bain Capital, the private-equity firm where he has been a managing director since leaving office. The firm became a ripe target for Democrats in 2012 when Obama was running against Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee who co-founded the firm.

Patrick’s maneuvers — coming days after former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg began making his own plans to get into the presidential race — will further complicate a presidential field that is showing signs of expanding after several weeks of contraction.

Five Democrats who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private discussions told The Washington Post on Monday that they had been told Patrick was again considering a campaign, which he had ruled out in December. Several people said he has begun to discuss new staff options. Patrick also spoke with Joe Biden about his potential entry into the race, some said. He made an offer to Jennifer Liu, one of his former aides who recently left Sen. Kamala D. Harris’s campaign, to be his national finance director.

(…)

Patrick would attempt to bring an uplifting life story and an aspirational message to the race, and could also attempt to win over African American voters, who have provided the bulwark of Biden’s support. He has often had a cordial relationship with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), but they have largely different political brands.

Patrick spent months in 2018 toying with the idea of running, before ultimately announcing that he would not. He cited “the cruelty of our elections process” and its impact on his family.

If he does decide to enter, he would likely run on a record built over his terms as governor, with efforts to improve education and transportation, and infusions into the state’s life sciences and biotechnology industries.

But he also faced criticism for mismanagement, particularly in the state’s child welfare system. He will also face deep scrutiny in the Democratic primary over his corporate ties. He once worked for Texaco and Coca-Cola, and served on the board of subprime mortgage lender Ameriquest.

This isn’t the first time that Patrick’s name has come up in connection with a bid for the Presidency. In the run-up to the 2016 campaign, Patrick was one of several Democrats who at least apparently explored the idea of running for the Democratic nomination, a list that included other names such as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. For the most part, this is was during the period when it wasn’t entirely clear if Hillary Clinton would enter the race or not. Once it became clear that she was, those candidates, including Patrick, ended their inquiries in the face of Clinton’s overwhelming popularity among Democratic voters and the fact that she was able to claim support from top Democratic donors and superdelegates early in the race. Additionally, Patrick apparently briefly considered getting into the 2020 race but ultimately decided against it, for reasons that included the fact that his wife was in poor health at the time although that is apparently in the past.

What seems significant about these reports about Patrick entering the race, though, is what it says about the confidence that top Democratic donors, especially on Wall Street and in the financial industry, have in the current field, as Politico notes:

Patrick’s interest in the race advanced in recent weeks as top Democratic donors became increasingly concerned with the field, according to one friend who spoke to the former governor last week.

The donors, many with ties to Wall Street, see Patrick as the perfect candidate: a dynamic, African-American progressive governor who got elected in a heavily white state and who also has good ties to the business community thanks to his time in Bain Capital, the firm founded by another former Massachusetts governor and former presidential candidate, Mitt Romney.

“This is coming from Wall Street. They’re terrified of Warren. And these guys would help Biden. But they’ve been in a room with him up close and they have doubts,” the source said. “Deval wants this. He regrets not having done it. His wife was ill. But since then, she has gotten better. But the field has gotten worse.”

As Patrick examines his options, his potential donors are reaching out to fellow Wall Street donors, the Massachusetts hedge fund community and the Black Economic Alliance, a group that includes some members also support Sen. Kamala Harris of California and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey.

Given the actual state of the race, this attitude among donors is somewhat puzzling, to be honest. While Vice-President Biden has slipped from his overwhelming lead in the race that we saw in the spring and the summer, it’s far from the case that he is a doomed candidacy and that Elizabeth Warren, or Bernie Sanders for that matter, is on an inevitable path toward the nomination. For example, the former Vice-President remains in the lead nationally, he remains competitive in Iowa where the race between the top four candidates is close, he’s a strong candidate in New Hampshire where a new Quinnipiac poll gives him a four-point lead, he’s leading in Nevada, continues to lead in South Carolina, finally he’s among the top three in the polls in California, the crown jewel of the March 3rd Super Tuesday races. Given these numbers, it seems to me that these donors ought to be looking at the field that they have rather than trying to push an unlikely late-entry candidacy from a candidate who has spent the last year on the sidelines into a race that they probably aren’t going to win.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    No offense to Patrick, who was a pretty good governor, but this is becoming absurd.

    ReplyReply
  2. Teve says:

    F off DP.

    ReplyReply
  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Deval Patrick: “My road to relevancy is paved with other people’s money. Why shouldn’t I spend it?”

    ReplyReply
  4. CSK says:

    According to Politico, back in 2017 Obama was encouraging Patrick to run in 2020. Apparently Patrick is one of the very few people Obama regards as having real political talent.

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  5. Jen says:

    thanks to his time in Bain Capital,

    Please ask Pete Buttigieg how his time at McKinsey is going over. Or for that matter, ask Hillary how even *giving speeches* to Goldman Sachs went over.

    I get that the money guys don’t like Warren, but seriously, suggesting Deval Patrick brings something new to the table because he worked for Bain just has to be one of the dumbest things I’ve read.

    Yes, Biden is old. Yes, Warren is progressive. Yes, Buttigieg is young.

    Any one of them would be better than what is currently sitting in the White House, and dragging more people into the primary simply increases Bernie’s chances, due to the same type of fracturing we saw in the Republican primary in 2016.

    PS–Biden’s lead in the Quinnipiac poll in NH is four points ahead of Warren, not six. Buttigieg, Warren, and Sanders are all within a point of one another, and the MOE.

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  6. Kylopod says:

    Late entrants think they’re all Westley from The Princess Bride:

    “You’ll never survive!”

    “Nonsense! You’re only saying that because no one ever has!”

    ReplyReply
  7. @Jen:

    My mistake on the Q poll, I’ve fixed the text appropriately,

    ReplyReply
  8. Michael Reynolds says:

    What’s interesting to me is that Patrick was said to be Obama’s early choice. Is Patrick ignoring Obama? Or has he got an all-clear from Obama to take down his former Veep?

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  9. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds: That intrigues me, too. Patrick and Obama are very close, and Obama has always thought highly of Patrick’s abilities.

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  10. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I like Patrick. Not sure what he brings to the table that the other 37 Democratic candidates don’t.
    Except that none of the hoard has been able to separate themselves from the pack. Can Patrick?
    He’s way behind in fundraising and building an organization.
    But it’s interesting; a MA Senator vs a MA Governor.
    I live in CT, right next to MA, and I can tell you that Patrick is a formidable politician who shouldn’t be taken lightly.

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  11. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    Any one of them would be better than what is currently sitting in the White House,

    That’s the low standard to kill all standards 🙂

    I say if Wall Street is afraid of Warren, then good. A financial industry is necessary for economic development and growth, but financiers these days are too focused on making money rather than on building useful, enduring companies. It’s not about making goods or providing services anymore, but how much the IPO will fetch.

    ReplyReply
  12. Kit says:

    “This is coming from Wall Street. They’re terrified of Warren.

    Yeah, I’d be terrified of Warren too were I a Wall Street boy, even with Biden hitting all the right notes. This is a contest and I’ve got money riding on the outcome! And what would really worry me is Warren’s wild card: Sanders and his supporters. If those two groups unite, then I find myself in the unfortunate position of having (out of principle, you know) to throw my weight behind Trump. And that makes me feel bad about myself, and being wealthy should mean never having to feel bad about myself. So I’m starting to panic here.

    ReplyReply
  13. An Interested Party says:

    The bottom line with all of this is who can beat Trump…that literally is the most important thing…if Patrick has a better shot than others at achieving that, then he should get some consideration…

    ReplyReply
  14. dmichael says:
  15. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @dmichael:

    As to being a formidable politician, Scott Lemieux begs to disagree:

    Yawn…

    ReplyReply
  16. Jen says:

    @An Interested Party: I don’t disagree. The problem is the timing.

    Right now, in IA and NH, people are already making up their minds. Floating a “maybe” at this point is late–really late–even if it doesn’t feel like it to the rest of the country. Okay, so he/someone else decides they can write off IA and NH and just focus on SC or Super Tuesday. All of the other campaigns already have well-established ground teams in those states too.

    Setting up a White House run takes a LOT of effort, and a lot of that is logistical. Most of the decent talent is already working on other campaigns too. You might get a few grassroots volunteers to shift, and sure, you can either go with campaign workers who have been with you on a statewide race (as Patrick would undoubtedly do) or try and poach talent from other organizations (or grab workers from those who have already bowed out), but it’s still going to be quite difficult to build the infrastructure you’ll need.

    Buttigieg’s team was behind Warren’s in NH in getting set up here by a year, and Sanders had his operation in NH ready to go since practically when he dropped out in 2016. It’s late in the game, and primary contests need grassroots support to succeed.

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  17. Gustopher says:

    Given the actual state of the race, this attitude among donors is somewhat puzzling, to be honest. While Vice-President Biden has slipped from his overwhelming lead in the race that we saw in the spring and the summer, it’s far from the case that he is a doomed candidacy and that Elizabeth Warren, or Bernie Sanders for that matter, is on an inevitable path toward the nomination.

    Two points:

    1. The prize is not the nomination, but the Presidency.

    2. If the race is Biden’s to lose, past efforts show there’s a good chance he will do just that.

    To this, I would add that none of the 37 other candidates have really challenged Biden’s position from the moderate, Obama-esque lane. They’ve tried, bless their hearts, but they haven’t really done it.

    Either that means Biden has a deeper level of support than a lot of people think, or the other 37 are a bunch of political lightweights who can’t even challenge Joe Freakin’ Biden. I think there’s a lot to be said for that second scenario, since so many can’t even outpoll Andrew Freaking’ Yang.

    So, if money isn’t a limiting factor, why wouldn’t the wealthy donors trot out someone else to see if they can do better? Hedge fund managers are going to hedge their bets.

    I welcome Patrick into the race, just as I welcome Bloomberg. The more the merrier, and the voters will sort it out.

    ReplyReply
  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: How many DEM candidates are still in this race? At that number it is hard for anyone to really stand out. Biden is ahead only by virtue of name recognition and having been Obama’s VP, and he’s spinning his wheels. The field needs to be narrowed down, one way or the other to the top 5 or 6. Probably less. Until that happens it’s going to remain a scrum.

    The more that get in, the worse it’s going to get. Patrick is a dithering fool and Bloomberg is a rich Republican fuck who thinks his money proves something. It does prove something, just not what he thinks it does.

    ReplyReply
  19. Gustopher says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    The field needs to be narrowed down, one way or the other to the top 5 or 6.

    One way or another?

    *shudder*

    Oh, my god, you’re going to kill them, skin them, and eat them, aren’t you? These are people, not squirrels, Mr. Ozark Hillbilly!

    ReplyReply
  20. Sleeping Dog says:

    If Patrick jumped into the race a year ago, I’d have his lawn sign out front. But it’s too-too late.

    ReplyReply
  21. Jax says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Me too.

    ReplyReply
  22. Jen says:

    Buttigieg is leading in the most recent Monmouth poll of likely Iowa caucus voters, 22%, with Biden at 19% and Warren at 18% (I basically consider this a 3-way tie). Bernie is at 13%.

    ReplyReply
  23. Jax says:

    @Jen: I am also happy with Buttigieg, it will be an experience having a Presidential nominee this young (my only qualm) who is happily married to a guy, and I hope Franklin Graham and Pat Robertson’s heads spin off at “the horror”.

    ReplyReply
  24. Jen says:

    @Jax: I think he’s amazing, and he’s got my vote in the NH primary, but not sure he’ll be the nominee. I’ve been able to see him in person, and my guess is that’s what accounts for his steady rise in IA. That level of in-person contact is feasible in IA and NH, but it isn’t sustainable or easy to replicate in a country this size. When you see him talk and his measured, thoughtful responses to complicated questions, it allays any qualms about his age.

    I am hoping that he does well enough to be extremely viable in the future if he’s not the nominee or running mate.

    ReplyReply

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