News & Politics

Deval Patrick on 2020 Race: 'It's Hard to Break Through Without Being a Celebrity or Sensational'

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick explained his decision to make a late entry into the Democratic presidential race.

Patrick said his wife was battling uterine cancer when he initially decided not to run, but his wife is now cancer-free.

“It’s hard to break through without being a celebrity or sensational. I’m neither of those things, but I have been worried that we have this amazing moment where the appetite for solutions that meet the big challenges we have is right there and I don’t want to see us miss that chance,” Patrick said on Thursday after filing for the Democratic primary in New Hampshire.

Patrick pushed back on characterizing his entry into the race as late.

“From the perspective of the voters, it’s early. Voters all across the country are in some cases just tuning in and in many cases haven’t made their decisions and I’m not asking them to make their decision today. I’m asking them to give me a chance,” he said.

When asked about how he plans to get enough Democratic donors on his side, Patrick said he is used to dealing with skepticism.

“I’ve lived a political life and I would say as a black man, a whole life dealing with skepticism. I’m used to that and I keep doing everything I can with the help and the grace of others to beat these expectations,” he said.

Patrick said he had a “hard conversation” with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) before his announcement.

When asked to explain why he described the conversation as hard, Patrick complimented Warren’s campaign and said he is “incredibly fond” of her.

“She has the best and most disciplined campaign out there from what I have observed,” he said. “She’s contributed a lot to advancing her campaign but I think the actual business of advancing an agenda once elected is a different kind of undertaking and frankly, you know, I’ve run for one thing two times, but in my experience, you have to start that work in the campaign, not after the campaign.”