Admitting his last-minute candidacy was “a Hail Mary from two stadiums over,” Patrick said he had decided to get in the race because the Democratic voters had failed to coalesce around a frontrunner.
“If I felt like the voters had settled or folks had made up their minds,” Patrick told the Boston Globe. “I wouldn’t do it.”
Patrick is not widely known nationally and faces an uphill battle after jumping in so late in the race, but he is said to have told advisers he sees a chance to bridge the gap and appeal to both liberals and moderates.
With close ties to former President Barack Obama, Patrick has reportedly told advisers he wants to run a campaign with echoes of Obama’s 2008 bid. And as one of the first African-American governors in the country, he could win over voters in South Carolina, where a majority of the primary electorate are black.
But his work at the Boston-based private investment firm Bain Capital could also work against him in a race where other candidates have championed progressive policies challenging the wealthy.
He believes his two terms as Massachusetts governor prove he has a broad appeal that can help to bring together a divided country.
“I think the anger that people are feeling is righteous. I think the anger people are feeling is also familiar,” Patrick told the Globe, saying the same concerns affected citizens from Appalachia or rural Alabama to Chicago. “I think the solutions themselves are an opportunity to unify the country.”
The former governor’s announcement comes following reports he’d already put feelers out for a last-minute entry into the crowded race nearly a year after ruling out a run.
Patrick had ramped up his political presence last year and visited some early nominating states as close advisers launched the Reason to Believe PAC, which billed itself as a way to promote “Gov. Patrick’s positive vision for Democrats to rally around in 2018.”
But he later dropped the idea of running, saying he didn’t want his loved ones to be affected by the “cruelty of our elections process.”