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Patrick Bemoans “Cruelty of Election Process” as He Bows out of 2020 Race

In a Facebook post Thursday morning, two-term Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick made it official: He will not be running for president in 2020.

“After a lot of conversation, reflection and prayer, I’ve decided that a 2020 campaign for president is not for me. I’ve been overwhelmed by advice and encouragement from people from all over the country, known and unknown,” Patrick wrote.  “But knowing that the cruelty of our elections process would ultimately splash back on people whom Diane and I love, but who hadn’t signed up for the journey, was more than I could ask.”

In doing so, Patrick confirmed the suspicions of some doubters who questioned whether the famously thin-skinned governor was prepared for the rough-and-tumble of a national campaign–particularly one that might involve taking on Donald Trump. Patrick was known for angry outbursts over relatively mild media criticism and personal animosity against members of the press. As Jon Keller, the well-respected political reporter at Boston’s CBS affiliate put it in 2012:  “Deval Patrick has a lot of attributes, but thick skin is not one of them.”

Director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center David Paleologos tells NHJournal that Patrick was “one of ten strong Democrats who had a path to score Democratic Primary victories in the three early states and to ultimately take on President Trump.”  According to Paleologos, the immediate beneficiaries of his decision are his fellow New Englanders  Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, and African-American candidates, “especially Cory Booker.”

In his Facebook statement, Patrick said he believes “Democrats have a clear chance not just to win [people’s] votes but to win their respect and earn their help by showing up everywhere, engaging everyone, and making our case.”

“America feels more ready than usual for big answers to our big challenges. That’s an exciting moment that I hope we don’t miss. I hope to help in whatever way I can. It just won’t be as a candidate for president,” Patrick said.

Despite Backing from ObamaWorld, Deval Patrick Drops Out of 2020 Race

Multiple media reports confirm that former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick will not be running for president in 2020, despite having started a successful political PAC and Patrick’s standing as the top pick inside ObamaWorld.

“If true, this news takes off the board one of ten strong Democrats who had a path to score Democratic primary victories in the three early states and to ultimately take on President Trump,” David Paleologos, Director
of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, told InsideSources.  “The windfall beneficiaries regionally are Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.  Among African-American voters, especially men, Corey Booker benefits.”

Patrick, a two-term Democrat who made the counter-intuitive move to Bain Capital—the same company Democrats vilified due to its connection to another former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney—has spoken openly about considering a 2020 POTUS bid and the “encouragement I’ve been getting from a number of places and source,” including from high-dollar Democratic donors.

In addition, Patrick’s political action committee, the Reason To Believe PAC, was a success. According to data at, the PAC raised more than $500,000 in 2018 (NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s raised less than one-tenth that amount.) And according to the PAC’s website, “Reason To Believe endorsed 27 progressive candidates and 3 ballot initiatives. 17 won their races.”

But the most significant encouragement came from people close to former President Barack Obama. According to reporting by Politico, Obama was “nudging him to run…Patrick is ObamaWorld’s clear and away 2020 favorite.”   Close Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett in particular has been pushing a Patrick bid, calling a Deval Patrick presidency “what my heart desires.”

“Deval would make an outstanding President. He’d make a terrific candidate,” Jarrett has said.

And just weeks ago, the New Yorker ran a profile of Patrick that included the intriguing news that Michelle Obama had met with Deval’s wife Diane to encourage her to support a presidential bid.  According to their reporting, Diane did just that.

And yet Patrick is taking a pass on 2020.

There are many reasons for people not to run for office. Michael Avenatti used concerns from his family–the classic (and frequently insincere) reason for bowing out. That does not appear to be the case for Deval Patrick.

One reason, however, may have been his weakness among Democrats in his home state of Massachusetts. Patrick has never been in the top tier in national polls of potential 2020 candidates, but that’s to be expected in a field of more than 30 candidates. But a September poll of Massachusetts Democrats showing just 38 percent thought he should even run, while about 48 percent  were opposed–is hardly a ringing endorsement. And a more recent UMass poll of Bay State Democrats put the former governor in single digits.

He is expected to make a formal announcement of his decision not to run, perhaps later this week.

Inside Track 2020: Deval Patrick “Inching Toward” a POTUS Race?

Politico is reporting that Deval Patrick is “inching closer toward deciding on a 2020 presidential run.”

Quoting the former Massachusetts governor’s longtime political advisor John Walsh, Politico is feeding a narrative they’ve nursed for a nearly a year now–that Barack Obama and his political team want Patrick to pick up the presidential mantle.

Today, Politico reports that Patrick “is really thinking about running but hasn’t decided yet,” according to Walsh.  Last August, Politico ran a story entitled: “Obama’s Inner Circle Is Urging Deval Patrick to Run.”

According to the August piece, “Barack Obama is nudging him to run” and Patrick is “ObamaWorld’s clear and away 2020 favorite.”  At the time, Patrick was more circumspect, saying  “it’s way, way too soon to be making plans for 2020.” Fascinatingly, he gave the interview from his post-governor gig at Bain Capital, the (evil) venture capital firm founded by another former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney.

Some big-dollar Democratic donors who play beltway politics are reportedly pushing Patrick, too.  And Patrick advisors like David Axelrod say Deval has early state advantages due to his experience campaigning in small-town central and western Massachusetts (helps in Iowa) and the eight years as governor of New Hampshire’s southern neighbor.

However, as NHJournal has reported, early polling has Patrick in single digits in the Granite State (despite eight years of coverage in the area’s biggest TV market), and when Sen. Liz Warren’s name is added, Patrick’s support drops to 4 percent.

Do polls six months before the midterms really matter? Of course not. But it does show that, for the moment, Washington, DC politicos and publications are more excited about the Patrick run that New Hampshire’s Democrats are.

Democratic State Sen. Lou D’Allesandro (author of the new book Lion Of The New Hampshire Senate) tells NHJournal: “I don’t think Patrick would capture the attention of NH Democrats.  He didn’t spend a lot of time here and I don’t believe he has been back since he left office.  As you know, the Bernie followers are very active.  It remains to be seen as to what the field will look like.”

UPDATE: Longtime Democratic activist and media personality Jim Braude tells NHJournal that Patrick would be a strong candidate in the Granite State. “Deval Patrick is maybe the best campaigner I’ve ever seen,” says Braude, who along with his broadcasting partner Margery Eagan hosted Gov. Patrick’s monthly “Ask The Governor” radio program during his eight years in office.

“Speechifying and one-on-one, he’s tailor made for Iowa and New Hampshire. Throw in the fact that he’s a liberal who business types can relate to and you’ve got a candidate,” Braude says.