Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick will not run for President in 2020, he announced on Thursday, citing the “cruelty of our elections process” and the effect it would have on those close to him.
“After a lot of conversation, reflection and prayer, I’ve decided that a 2020 campaign for president is not for me. I’ve been overwhelmed by advice and encouragement from people from all over the country, known and unknown,” Patrick said in a Facebook post.
“But knowing that the cruelty of our elections process would ultimately splash back on people whom Diane and I love, but who hadn’t signed up for the journey, was more than I could ask,” he said.
Many factors went into Patrick’s decision not to run for President in 2020, people close to the Massachusetts Democrat tell CNN, but one key reason was that Patrick’s wife Diane had recently been diagnosed with uterine cancer and had surgery right before Thanksgiving, a source familiar with the governor’s thinking said.
Patrick, who had the backing of some top aides from President Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, had built a small but formidable team of advisers in Boston as he planned a 2020 bid and many believed the two-term governor was almost certain to run as of Monday. But the decision against a run came swiftly, according to the source, and most people close to the governor were told on Monday night and Tuesday that the campaign wasn’t going to happen.
“He was in the race as of Sunday or Monday – at least we were treating it as such,” the source said.
Patrick publicly revealed his wife’s cancer diagnosis in an interview with WBUR Thursday morning and cited it as something that caused him to carefully consider whether he wanted to put his family though months of grueling campaigning.
“Diane had a – and she’s given me permission to talk about this – she had a health scare in the last month. About three and a half weeks ago, she was diagnosed with stage 1 uterine cancer. She had surgery right before Thanksgiving. She’s going to be fine,” Patrick said. “It’s the sort of thing that focuses the mind and really caused us to come to grips with some of the things that our children and our extended family were telling us about their pride and excitement in our willingness to take this on but their own personal reticence about being a part of it.”
He also cited a desire to maintain his family’s privacy as a reason to not run.
It is unlikely that Patrick’s departure from the 2020 speculation will mark his end in Democratic politics. The former governor said in a statement that he will still champion Democratic causes and believes Democrats have a “clear chance” to win.
“America feels more ready than usual for big answers to our big challenges. That’s an exciting moment that I hope we don’t miss,” he wrote on Facebook.
Widely speculated to run
Patrick entered the private sector in 2015 and took a job at Bain Capital, the Boston based private investment firm. He had upped his political involvement ahead of the 2018 midterms – endorsing candidates in South Carolina, Texas, New Jersey and a handful of other states – leading many to believe he was going to jump into the race.
Patrick, despite the speculation that he was going to run, had repeatedly acknowledged the enormity of the decision.
“It’s on my radar screen,” Patrick told a public radio station in Kansas City during the midterms, adding that “it’s a huge decision.”
“I am trying to think through 2020,” Patrick said. “And that’s a decision I’m trying to think through from a personal and family point of view.”
Patrick had been support from many of the same aides and advisers who helped Obama vault into the White House in 2008.
“Deval would make an outstanding President,” Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s former senior adviser, told the New Yorker in November. “President Obama and Deval are very much alike in terms of their core values, what drove them into public service, their willingness to lend a hand, the responsibility to give back.”