Decision 2020

‘Deval Who?’ Patrick Still Searching for Support in Presidential Race

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick was a late entry to the crowded Democratic field and is lagging behind other candidates in national recognition.

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From New Hampshire on Monday, Deval Patrick left to campaign Tuesday in Nevada. On Wednesday, it's fundraising in Los Angeles, then back to Boston and New Hampshire, with radio and other media in between.

So it had to be frustrating for the Patrick team to see a tweet from Cory Booker's press secretary, Sabrina Singh, that said, in part, that Booker is "the last black candidate left after Senator Kamala Harris's withdrawal."

Patrick's team quickly shot back, calling it untrue, disingenuous and puzzling. But the tweet underscores the dilemma of Patrick's late entry candidacy.

Longtime New Hampshire political analyst and activist Arnie Arnesen is only partially kidding when she says, "Deval who?"

"I guess my first question is, why? Who's banging the drum, saying, 'Deval Patrick, enter this race?'" Arnesen said.

Some have suspected members of former President Barack Obama's team urged Patrick to jump in to provide another option among a field of candidates dominated by septuagenarians and thin on diversity.

But getting the campaign off the ground is proving to be challenging.

"I really need to know more about him," said Lucy Morris of Concord.

"He's really not on my radar screen," said Warren Emley of Concord.

"I don't know a whole heck of a lot about him," Tom Chapman of Concord added.

"I'm not sure that Deval has the time or the money to begin to explain to us why he is better than what we've seen already," Arnesen said.

Patrick state directors in South Carolina and New Hampshire, where Patrick will spend most of his time, are building their teams focused on the fact that a large number of primary voters have yet to make up their minds.

Patrick will continue to work on raising his profile in the Granite State. He's back campaigning on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

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