Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is laying the groundwork to enter the presidential race, with an announcement expected as soon as this week, according to two sources with direct knowledge of his plans.

The decision marks yet another reversal that could throw further volatility into the Democratic presidential primary. Patrick, who served two terms ending in 2015 and has close ties to former President Barack Obama and his network of advisers, has been trying to put a team together with a loose plan to announce his campaign by Thursday.

Deval Patrick

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick speaks at his Statehouse office in Boston in 2014. Patrick is considering making a late run for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to people with knowledge of Patrick’s deliberations. Elise Amendola/Associated Press

In one complication, he has also been trying to extricate himself from Bain Capital, the private equity firm where he has been a managing director since leaving office. It became a ripe target for Democrats in 2012 when Obama was running against Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee who co-founded the firm.

Patrick’s maneuvers – coming days after former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg began making his own plans to get into the presidential race – will further complicate a presidential field that is showing signs of expanding after several weeks of contraction.

Five Democrats who asked for anonymity to describe private discussions told the Washington Post on Monday they had been told that Patrick was again considering a campaign, which he had ruled out in December. Several people said he had begun to discuss new staff options. Patrick, as he was mulling a decision, spoke extensively last week with Joe Biden, some said. He also made an offer to Jennifer Liu, one of his former aides who recently left Sen. Kamala Harris’ campaign, to be his national finance director.

News of Patrick’s potential entry was first reported by The New York Times.

Patrick would attempt to bring an uplifting life story and an aspirational message to the race, and could also attempt to win over African American voters, who have provided the bulwark of Biden’s support. He has often had a cordial relationship with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., but they have largely different political brands.

Patrick spent months in 2018 toying with the idea of running, before ultimately announcing that he would not. He cited “the cruelty of our elections process” and its impact on his family.

If he does decide to enter, he would likely run on a record built over his terms as governor, with efforts to improve education and transportation, and infusions into the state’s life sciences and biotechnology industries.

But he also faced criticism for mismanagement, particularly in the state’s child welfare system. He will also face deep scrutiny in the Democratic primary over his corporate ties. He once worked for Texaco and Coca-Cola, and served on the board of subprime mortgage lender Ameriquest.

His family would also face renewed – and often unwelcome – attention. His wife, Diane, was hospitalized in 2007 for depression, following a bruising campaign and intense scrutiny in his first few months as governor.

Patrick’s brother-in-law was sentenced in June to more than six years in prison after he was convicted of several charges, including the kidnapping and rape of Patrick’s sister.

Patrick in 2014 removed the top two officials at the state’s Sex Offender Registry Board in part because they had tried to force his brother-in-law to register as a sex offender for an earlier conviction in California of raping his wife. The incident became a flashpoint in the final month before Patrick’s 2006 election, something he attributed to “dirty politics.” The disclosure of a painful family moment, he said, “nearly destroyed their lives.”

Patrick’s late entry into the presidential contest would complicate his campaign. Some of his long-time advisers, who had helped him earlier when he was weighing a run, are now working elsewhere. John Walsh, who helped Patrick’s rise as governor and later served as chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, is now running Sen. Edward Markey’s reelection campaign.

Doug Rubin, who was Patrick’s chief of staff and one of his closest advisers, is now working for Tom Steyer’s presidential campaign.

Among those said to be involved in the new effort are Rosy Gonzalez, a former Patrick adviser who most recently worked for Andrew Gillum’s gubernatorial bid in Florida; and Mo Cowan, a longtime Patrick confidant who was an interim U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. Gonzalez and Cowan did not immediately return messages.


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