What prompted Patrick’s longshot bid?

Deval Patrick’s late entry into the presidential race is a compelling story for the same reason that Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels have drawn in readers over the decades. There is mystery at the heart of it.

The 63-year-old, two-term Democratic governor has given the broad outlines of his policy positions and the pitch he will make to voters, but the reason why he decided to jump in nearly a year after ruling it out has yet to be fully explained.

Let’s start with what we do know. Patrick’s decision was very late in the cycle – occurring nearly five months after the first debate and less than three months from the Iowa caucuses. It was also, according to The New York Times, comically last-minute and therefore not surprisingly a bit slapdash. The paper reports that Patrick apparently only decided to run in the past week, his campaign launch video wasn’t finished until sometime in the middle of the night, and he was so unfamiliar with his new campaign manager Abe Rakov that he called him “Gabe” on a call with donors yesterday.

That all stands in contrast to the one-time corporate lawyer’s more traditional and more deliberative process for considering a presidential campaign, which ended in early December 2018 with his decision not to seek election.

After much thought and travel around the country, Patrick concluded that if he launched a presidential campaign, “the cruelty of our elections process would ultimately splash back on” the people that he and his wife Diane Patrick love. Diane Patrick had been diagnosed with uterine cancer when the former governor opted out of the race, and she is now cancer-free.

In other contexts, Patrick has also spoken about his wife as someone who keeps a check on his political ambitions. In an interview last fall with David Axelrod, who was an advisor on Patrick’s 2006 campaign, the former governor said, “I have a term-limit named Diane, who said, ‘Two terms, and that’s it.” It could be that his wife’s health was the biggest determinant in his dropping out of contention last year, and in his jumping back in yesterday.

But there are other political reasons worth exploring. The Democratic presidential field is robust, and a subset has emerged in the top tier of contenders – former vice president Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders. While Patrick will begin with stark disadvantages in name-recognition, fundraising, and the grassroots organizing he has spoken so highly of over the years, the congressional calendar could work to his advantage.

If the House impeaches President Trump, which seems extremely likely, then the question of his removal from office will go to the Senate for a trial. At that point, Warren and Sanders along with other presidential candidates Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, and Michael Bennet will all need to spend significant time at their desks in the Senate chamber – and away from the campaign trail – for six days a week during the proceedings if they remain in office. 

Biden, meanwhile, is a key figure in the case against Trump. Reams of evidence have emerged that suggest Trump pressured Ukraine to publicly launch an investigation into Biden and his familial links to the energy company Burisma so as to benefit Trump electorally. So far the Republican counter-argument has rested heavily on the idea that Biden was worth investigating, which could drag the former vice president into the mire. Perhaps, Patrick saw a unique opening brought about by the looming impeachment.

Given the long odds of victory, which Patrick has acknowledged, it’s also worth considering what effects his candidacy would have on the frontrunners, and whether that might have played into his thinking. It’s too early yet for any polling to show whose supporters Patrick might woo over to his side, but the Times, in handicapping the introduction of Patrick and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the field, notes the possibility of Patrick peeling away centrist Democrats in New Hampshire and black voters in South Carolina – where Biden is counting on winning. The fact that both Biden and Patrick have a close relationship with President Obama adds another layer of intrigue and drama.

There is of course a more straightforward answer to the question of why, when Patrick gazed upon the field of Democrats, he thought his moment was now: Ego, my dear Watson. 

ANDY METZGER


BEACON HILL

House Speaker Robert DeLeo had been planning a debate on new transportation revenues for months, but he pulled the plug because his team couldn’t assemble a package with enough vote support. They’ll try again next year, they say. (CommonWealth) A Herald editorial rips the House for the delay as well as for letting other important issues stack up in the final days of this year’s formal sessions. 

Sen. Michael Brady of Brockton lost the chairmanship of the Public Service Committee after the Ethics Committee determined he violated Senate rules by flashing his State House ID when he was pulled over for drunken driving in March 2018. (CommonWealth)

The Massachusetts Senate unanimously approved a bill designed to rein in rising drug prices. (State House News)

Rep. Patricia Haddad of Somerset, the speaker pro tempore of the House, lists her “next steps” for offshore wind. (CommonWealth)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Joyce Ferriabough Bolling says she has mixed feelings about the idea of changing the name of Roxbury’s Dudley Square to Nubian Square in honor of that ancient African civilization and says honoring important black Americans might be more appropriate. (Boston Herald)

Cathy Ann Viveiros resigned from her position as Fall River city administrator on Thursday. Viveiros started a write-in campaign after former boss Jasiel Correia II was heard in leaked audio telling supporters that he planned to introduce write-in candidates to split the vote, something Viveiros denies taking part in. (Herald News)

ELECTIONS

Deval Patrick’s entry into the presidential race could be particularly bad news for Elizabeth Warren’s prospect’s in the New Hampshire primary, writes the Herald’s Hillary Chabot

A Globe editorial urges an update to Boston’s cumbersome process for a recount of municipal elections.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Attorney General Maura Healey reached agreement with Stynt, a company that uses a digital platform to place health care workers, to have those workers treated as employees, not independent contractors. (Boston Globe)

The sun rose in the east this morning, and another luxury condo development is on tap in Boston, this one on a parcel adjacent to the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. (Boston Globe

EDUCATION

Boston is accelerating the move to add sixth grade classrooms to six East Boston elementary schools that currently serve K-5 students, with the added grade now scheduled for next fall rather than 2021, as originally planned. (Boston Globe)

The Lynn School Committee voted unanimously to offer condoms and birth control at the high school. (Daily Item)

High schools under construction in Worcester will have gender neutral bathrooms. (Telegram & Gazette)

ARTS/CULTURE

Some are calling for the state-owned Hynes Auditorium, whose convention-hosting days are numbered, to be repurposed as a performing arts venue. (Boston Herald)

The newly-opened Hamill Gallery in Quincy welcomes anyone for free, with owners taking the stance that art should be accessible to everyone.  (Patriot Ledger)

A new study says there is a disconnect in Boston between the types of performing arts spaces that exist and the needs of arts organizations. (Boston Herald)

TRANSPORTATION 

Mark D’Angelo, who is paid $240,000 a year as the head of labor relations at the T, resigns before the airing of a report about him drinking alcohol in the middle of the day. (WCVB-Channel 5)

According to a new MassINC Polling Group survey, a slim majority of voters support an idea Gov. Charlie Baker has gotten behind to deal with traffic congestion: managed lanes. (WBUR

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey continued his criticism of the state Sentencing Commission, saying he’ll call on the statewide district attorneys’ association to withdraw its representatives from the panel to protest the commission’s failure to submit proposed sentencing guideline changes to the Legislature. (Patriot Ledger

Former Provincetown School Committee member Kerry Adams was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday on child pornography charges. (Cape Cod Times) 

MEDIA

With its merger approved, the new Gannett sharpens its cost-cutting knife, upping the cost-reduction goal from $200 million to $400 million, says Ken Doctor. (Nieman Journalism Lab)

A Reuters article that called the impeachment hearings dull spawns some pushback on social media about press coverage that focuses on style over substance. (Press Watch)