Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts, has announced that he will run for president in the 2020 race. Patrick made it official in an online video released early Thursday morning.
A CBS News contributor since September, Patrick will no longer serve in that role. "Governor Patrick is a political contributor to CBS News, but in light of this decision, the network will cut that link," CBS News said.
Patrick, 63, served as governor of Massachusetts for two terms, from 2007 to 2015, and most recently was managing director at Bain Capital, a private equity firm.
Patrick is a prominent African-American in the Democratic Party and was considered a viable candidate for president, given his current job as a federal prosecutor, his willingness to campaign for Democratic congressional candidates and his ties to former President Barack Obama. He hadlast December that he would not run, citing a potential effort on friends and family.
It is unclear how late Patrick's decision to join the fray could reshape the democratic contest. An Iowa spokesman is less than three months from February 3. And it begins far in the record field, where electoral emissions are now split into two levels – with the top lineup consisting of Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Pete Boutigig
Patrick called the current field of Democrats "really talented" but asked if they could "rally the nation".
"We seem to be migrating, to one camp, in a kind of nostalgia – let's get rid of the incumbent, if you will, and we can go back to what we were doing before," he said. "Or, you know, it's our way, our big idea or by no means. And none of them, it seems to me, used the moment to draw the nation together. "
Patrick told the CBS this morning in June that it would be difficult to "crash" though the "field of Democrats" without being a celebrity or a sensationalist. However, on Thursday, he said "you can't know if you can break through if you don't get out there and try it".
Another unknown factor is the former mayor of New York, who is also considering running for president and has already put his name on the ballot for Democrats in Alabama and Arkansas. The media mogul's decision is expected soon, aides say.
Voters in early primary states have repeatedly said in an interview with CBS News that they are impressed and overwhelmed by their options – and look no further. Polls and interviews show Democratic primary voters eagerly looking for someone equipped to defeat President Trump next year.
Patrick clearly believes this is a viable option and is expected to highlight his service as governor of Massachusetts – the only state-run Democrat this century.
During his eight years as governor, Patrick implemented a health reform plan initiated by his predecessor, Republican Mitt Romney, who later served as a model for Obamaack. He also raised the state's minimum wage to $ 11 an hour.
His job as managing director at Bain Capital is likely to attract the scrutiny of primary voters who are more critical of corporations. Romney, a former Bain executive, was attacked by Democrats for his role in the firm when he ran for president in 2012.
Despite his corporate work, Patrick remained engaged in democratic politics and helped campaign nationally for congressional and governorship candidates. After leaving the state house, Patrick stayed close with a small staff of consultants who advised him during his hearings last year on whether to mount a campaign.
Patrick paused, saying he was "humbled" by encouraging the whole country to seek the presidency, but he knew "that the cruelty of our electoral process will eventually bare the people that Diane and I love but who haven't written down for the journey. "
His wife Diane was treated for stage 1 cervical cancer and received a good prognosis.
Prior to serving as governor, Patrick was general counsel at the Texas oil company and helped implement his merger with Chevron in 2000. He later served as general counsel at the Coca-Cola Company.
In 1994, he was appointed by Bill Clinton to head the Justice Department's civil rights department and focused on investigating a series of wildfires in the southern black churches.
In a glittering profile published by The New Yorker last year, Patrick said he campaigned during the 2018 midterm elections in congressional districts "where Democrats were not competitive for a long time and ran at the grassroots level".
The article also tells the story of the governor growing up on the south side of Chicago, earning a scholarship to the elite Milton Academy in Massachusetts and attending Harvard University and Harvard Law School.
He told the magazine he believes the Democrats lost the presidency in 2016 because they failed to listen. "I would say we get the government we deserve in a democracy," he said. "And if we want a better government, we need to get involved, and a lot of people have been turning away for a long time, not for no reason."
Whether voters will want to hear what Patrick has to offer remains to be seen.