Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts, announced on Thursday morning he is running for president. This brings the number of Democrats seeking their party’s nomination back to 18. (It had dropped to 17 when Beto O’Rourke finally realized he stood no chance of winning and quit the race no Nov. 1.)
“I admire and respect the candidates in the Democratic field; they bring a richness of ideas and experience and a depth of character that makes me proud to be a Democrat,” Patrick said in a video posted on Twitter. “But if the character of the candidates is an issue in every election, this time is about the character of the country. This time is about whether the day after the election, America will keep her promises.”
In a spirit of profound gratitude for all the country has given to me, with a determination to build a better, more sustainable, more inclusive American Dream for everyone:
— Deval Patrick (@DevalPatrick) November 14, 2019
As The Washington Post reported, Patrick’s admiration and respect lasted until his first TV appearance on Thursday morning.
In a morning interview with CBS, Patrick appeared to knock former vice president Joe Biden as out of touch and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, his home state senator, as too dug in on her ideas.
The campaign, he said, was caught between “nostalgia,” the desire to return to what existed before President Trump; and “our big idea or no way.”
“Neither of those seizes the moment,” he said.
In his announcement video, Patrick highlighted his humble upbringing on the South Side of Chicago in the late 1950s and ’60s. He grew up living with his grandparents, parents and sister in his grandparent’s two-bedroom apartment.
“Still, my grandmother used to tell us we were not poor, just broke — because ‘broke,’ she said, is temporary.”
It was a temporary condition in Patrick’s case.
An excellent student, he was the first in his family to go to college and then law school. By the time he started his own family, Patrick was a powerful and politically well-connected corporate attorney in Boston.
In his 2011 memoir, Patrick recounts a favorite anecdote that reflects his success as an attorney. When his daughter was in elementary school in the 1980s, she had a homework assignment that required her to describe the four seasons to her parents.
“First you drive up and the doorman takes your car,” she said, confusing the Four Seasons, the luxury hotel, with the actual seasons.
Patrick has been using that anecdote in public since at least 2007, according to the Huffington Post.
Patrick was elected governor of Massachusetts in 2006, the first black person to hold that office. He was reelected in 2010.
After leaving office, Patrick followed in the footsteps of his immediate predecessor as Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney, joining the investment firm Bain Capital in 2015.
Bain became famous during Romney’s 2012 presidential run as a practitioner of “vulture capitalism,” buying companies, gutting them and selling off anything of value piece-by-piece. That reputation didn’t dissuade Patrick from joining as the firm as a managing director three years later. Patrick has described his work at Bain as focusing on socially responsible investing.
But Bain isn’t the only business on Patrick’s resume that will attract attention during his run. Last year, Huff Post published a long story on Patrick’s work as an attorney before becoming governor, and his role in the subprime mortgage crisis, “Deval Patrick, Foreclosure Mogul.”
Patrick has already missed the filing deadline for the primaries in Alabama and Arkansas. According to the Post, Patrick will focus his early efforts on his neighboring state, New Hampshire.
No Iowa events for Patrick have been announced yet.
Editor’s note: This story originally listed the number of candidates at 19, instead of 18. We had momentarily forgot Beto O’Rourke dropped out. LV regrets the error in keeping track of the candidates.