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Ex-MA Gov. Patrick Enters Race         11/14 06:08

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is making a late 
entry into the Democratic presidential race.

   Patrick announced his bid Thursday in an online video, saying, "I am today 
announcing my candidacy for president of the United States."

   Patrick made history as the first black governor of Massachusetts and has 
close ties to former President Barack Obama and his network of political 
advisers. But he faces significant fundraising and organizational hurdles less 
than three months before voting begins.

   Patrick's announcement comes as some Democrats worry about the strength of 
the party's current field of contenders. Another Democrat --- former New York 
City Mayor Michael Bloomberg --- is also weighing a last-minute bid for the 
party's nomination.

   Bloomberg has taken steps toward launching a presidential campaign, filing 
candidate papers in Alabama and Arkansas. Even 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton 
this week said in a BBC interview that she is "under enormous pressure from 
many, many, many people to think about it," adding that she has no such plans 
but still would "never, never, never say never."

   The moves reflect uncertainty about the direction of the Democratic contest 
with no commanding front-runner. Joe Biden entered the race as the presumptive 
favorite and maintains significant support from white moderates and black 
voters, whose backing is critical in a Democratic primary. But he's facing 
spirited challenges from Patrick's home-state senator, Elizabeth Warren, and 
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, progressives whose calls for fundamental economic 
change have alarmed moderates and wealthy donors.

   Patrick could present himself as a potential bridge across the moderate, 
liberal and progressive factions --- as candidates like Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 
Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Cory Booker are trying to do.

   But the former governor faces significant hurdles to raise enormous amounts 
of money quickly and to build an organization in the traditional early voting 
states that most of his rivals have focused on for the past year. And he'll 
have to pivot to the expensive and logistically daunting Super Tuesday 
contests, when voters in more than a dozen states and territories head to the 
polls. Bloomberg's team has said they will skip the early states of Iowa, New 
Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina to focus on the Super Tuesday roster.

   It's also a near certainty that Patrick --- and possibly Bloomberg --- 
wouldn't make a Democratic debate stage until January, if at all, because of 
debate rules set by the party.

   Those dynamics left some prominent Democrats questioning Patrick's 
viability, while some existing campaigns privately offered outright mockery and 
derision.

   "Stop. We have enough candidates," said Kathy Sullivan, a Democratic 
National Committee member from New Hampshire, which hosts the party's first 
presidential primary following the Iowa caucuses.

   Texas Democratic Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa, whose state boasts the 
second-largest number of Super Tuesday delegates behind California, said he 
hadn't heard from Patrick or his representatives. "People are fine with the 
field," Hinojosa said, arguing that donors and media are mistaken to think that 
rank-and-file Democrats see Biden, Warren and others as unable to take down 
President Donald Trump.

   Besides, Hinojosa said, "most of the people you need to build out a campaign 
have already chosen sides."

   A former managing director for Bain Capital, Patrick has close ties to Wall 
Street donors. As the first black governor of Massachusetts and only the 
nation's second elected black governor since Reconstruction, Patrick also could 
run as a historic boundary breaker trying to dent Biden's support among African 
Americans --- though Harris and Booker, the only two black Democrats in the 
Senate, have been unable to do that thus far.

   A Biden aide confirmed that Patrick had talked to Biden in recent days about 
the possibility of entering the race, though it wasn't clear Wednesday whether 
the two men had talked since Patrick had decided that he would run. A Booker 
aide said Wednesday that Patrick had not called the New Jersey senator.

   Patrick has remained active in politics since his term as governor ended in 
2015.

   During the 2018 midterm elections, he traveled across the country in support 
of Democratic candidates, raising his national profile.

   Patrick also campaigned for Doug Jones during Alabama's contentious 2017 
special election for U.S. Senate.

   Last year, some of Patrick's supporters and close advisers launched the 
Reason to Believe political action committee, "a grassroots organization 
dedicated to advancing a positive, progressive vision for our nation in 2018 
and 2020." The PAC held meetups across the country, including in early 
presidential primary states.

   By December, however, Patrick cooled to the idea of a presidential bid. 

   "After a lot of conversation, reflection and prayer, I've decided that a 
2020 campaign for president is not for me," Patrick posted on his Facebook page 
at the time. Patrick said he and his wife worried 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."

   The PAC was formally dissolved earlier this year. 

   Patrick, a close friend of Obama's who campaigned for him, has positioned 
himself over the years as slightly more moderate than some on the Democratic 
left.

   After Trump's election, Patrick's initial criticism of the Republican 
president was somewhat less pointed than other Democrats offered. "We need our 
presidents to succeed," he said, while still expressing concern about what he 
described as Trump's belittling of those with opposing points of view.

   Patrick also urged the party at the time to look in the mirror, saying that 
"the outcome of the 2016 election was less about Donald Trump winning than 
Democrats and our nominee letting him do so."

   Early in his career, Patrick served as assistant attorney general for civil 
rights in the Clinton administration and later worked as an executive at Texaco 
and Coca-Cola. Since leaving the governor's office, Patrick has worked as a 
managing director for Bain Capital --- a company co-founded by 2012 Republican 
presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Patrick's predecessor as governor.

   Patrick's Massachusetts record is mixed. His successes include helping 
oversee the 2006 health care law signed by Romney that would go on to serve as 
a blueprint for Obama's 2010 health care law.

   Also considered a success: a 2008 initiative that committed Massachusetts to 
spending $1 billion over 10 years to jump-start the state's life sciences 
sector.

   There were rough patches, including turmoil at the state Department of 
Children and Families following the deaths of three children.

   Patrick was also forced to publicly apologize for a disastrous effort to 
transition to the federal health care law during which the state's website 
performed so poorly it created a backlog of more than 50,000 paper applications.


(KR)

 
 
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