Editor’s note: This story is part of PolitiFact’s ongoing coverage of the 2020 campaign; these reports will be updated as the campaign continues. For more candidate profiles and fact-checking, go to www.politifact.com/2020/
Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has the sort of personal biography that led many to see him as a 2020 candidate. He grew up in a low-income family on Chicago’s South Side, raised by a single mother. He won a scholarship to an exclusive private school in Massachusetts. After graduation, he was accepted at Harvard, where he ultimately also got his law degree.
He went on to become Massachusetts’ first African American governor in 2006, serving two terms.
For all that, late in 2018, he made it clear he would not run.
About a year later, on Nov. 14, he changed his mind.
Positioning himself to run in the political center, he appealed to Americans of all stripes who felt “the government and the economy were letting us down.” He has said he does not support Medicare for All, the single-payer health plan of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, but does back a public option, the preferred approach of most other Democratic candidates. He said a wealth tax is “directionally” right, but he prefers raising taxes on the wealthy through simplifying the tax code.
Patrick’s late entry puts him at a disadvantage. He lacks both the money and the campaign organization other candidates enjoy. But coming from Massachusetts, he is familiar to many New Hampshire voters, and as an African American, he could attract a key voting block in South Carolina’s primary.
Name: Deval Patrick
Current occupation: Managing director at Bain Capital, a private equity firm founded by former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Federal offices: No elected positions. Served in the Bill Clinton administration Justice Department as assistant attorney general for the civil rights division (1994 to 1997).
State and local offices: Governor of Massachusetts, 2007-2015.
Key votes: As governor, Patrick increased funding for public schools and advocated the expansion of charter schools. He supported tighter gun control, including limiting purchases to one firearm per month and requiring background checks for gun show purchases. He backed the introduction of casino gambling in Massachusetts. On energy, he streamlined the approval process for wind generated power, and had the state join a regional energy program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Private sector work: Chief counsel for Texaco and Coca-Cola before becoming Massachusetts governor. Joined Bain Capital after serving as governor.
Books authored: “A Reason to Believe: Lessons from an Improbable Life“, 2011
Education: BA Harvard University, 1978; JD Harvard Law School 1982
Birth date: July 31, 1956
Personal life: Married to Diane Patrick, a labor and employment lawyer. They have two daughters, Sarah and Katherine.
Campaign website: Deval Patrick for President
Top issues: On his website, Patrick speaks broadly of investing more in education from pre-kindergarten through community college, plus workforce retraining. He backs improving the country’s roads, bridges and other infrastructure. He opposes Medicare for All and supports a government-run public option health insurance plan.
NPR, Deval Patrick Makes A Late Entry Into The 2020 Presidential Race, Nov. 14, 2019
New York Times, Where Does Deval Patrick Stand on the Issues?, Nov. 13, 2019
CBS News, “This Morning”, Nov. 14, 2019
This report will be updated as the campaign continues.