Former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick to join Democratic 2020 race

Victoria Bekiempis
Photograph: Elise Amendola/AP

The former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick has told Democratic party leaders and confidants that he will run for president and join an already crowded field, according to media reports.

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It is thought that Patrick will kick off his campaign on Thursday with a video, and then make an appearance in New Hampshire, so he can file paperwork to get on the state’s vital early primary ballot, reported CNN.

Patrick’s last-minute entry into the race marks yet another change in the Democratic contest where nearly two dozen hopefuls have been competing for nearly a year, reported the New York Times.

Nor is he likely to be the only late entrant as fears grow among centrist Democrats about the lackluster campaign of former vice-president Joe Biden and the stronger campaigns of the progressive senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. The former New York mayor and billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg recently submitted paperwork for Alabama’s Democratic primary.

Patrick, who in late 2018 decided not to run, has already told Biden about his interest in the contest, according to the New York Times.

Patrick is only the second elected black governor in US history and has told confidants that he would conduct a campaign similar to that of Barack Obama in 2008 – emphasizing unity.

He has reportedly told some key Democrats that none of the other contenders have gathered wind, leaving space for a candidate who can appeal to liberals and moderates alike.

Patrick, who counts Obama as a close friend, is nonetheless entering the competition at a disadvantage. He failed to meet the filing deadlines in Arkansas and Alabama.

After leaving the governorship, Patrick also worked at Bain Capital – the financial firm in Boston co-founded by Mitt Romney. Bain could be problematic for Patrick, as other Democrats’ criticism of the wealthy and the banking industry has been well received by many voters.