“This time [the election] is about the character of the country. This time is more than removing an unpopular and divisive leader, as important as that is, but about delivering instead for you.”

Photo of Deval Patrick

Deval Patrick

Former two-term governor of Massachusetts

Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick made a late entry into the 2020 presidential race, signaling he would run as a moderate and saying he wanted to bring both the Democratic Party and the country together.

Accomplishments: Patrick was raised in a poor neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago and earned a scholarship to a private high school academy in Massachusetts, before attending Harvard University and Harvard Law School. His long career as a lawyer has involved civil rights advocacy, including serving as assistant attorney general for civil rights under former President Bill Clinton. He has also worked as a lawyer for several large companies, including Coca Cola and oil giant Texaco. Patrick made history in 2007 by becoming the first African American governor of Massachusetts, a post he held for two terms. After leaving the governor’s office, he joined the Boston investment firm Bain Capital.

Foreign policy: As governor of Massachusetts, Patrick approved the resettlement of unaccompanied migrant children who were detained on the U.S. southern border, despite criticism from some of his constituents. He became emotional during a 2014 speech in which he spoke about the situation at the U.S. border, calling it a “humanitarian crisis.” He said, “This good nation is great when we open our doors and our hearts to needy children, and diminished when we don’t.”

What sets him apart: Patrick entered the presidential race late in the game, filing paperwork to join the New Hampshire primary ballot just one day ahead of the deadline. He said that while he respects the large field of Democratic candidates already in the race, he is concerned that many Americans feel left out of the political process. The Chicago native is a close ally of former Democratic President Barack Obama, who also has strong ties to the Chicago. Patrick, a former managing director for Bain Capital, has a close connection with Wall Street, which could help him win financial backing for his campaign. It could also be seen, however, as a liability by Democratic voters who may be wary of influence from the financial sector.

Platform: Patrick has framed himself as a moderate, telling reporters in New Hampshire he wants to offer optimism over “strict progressive ideology.” He told “CBS This Morning” that he does not support a government-run health care proposal known as “Medicare for All,” which has been championed by several of his Democratic opponents. He said he does support a “public option” health plan, which would allow more Americans to join a public health insurance program while giving others the option to stick with a private plan of their choice. Patrick also said he would support student debt reduction and higher taxes for the wealthy.