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Deval Patrick heads to Alabama to campaign in heated Senate contest

Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staffSuzanne Kreiter

Former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick will spend the weekend in Alabama campaigning for Democratic Senate candidate Doug Jones, days before a nationally watched special election against Roy Moore.

Moore, who has drawn national headlines in the last month after numerous women have accused him of inappropriate conduct with them as teenage girls decades ago, has received the endorsement of President Trump, and the race has taken on a far higher profile than any state race in recent years.

A Patrick spokesman said the Jones team asked the former governor to campaign for him. He will spend Saturday and Sunday visiting college campuses and speaking at get-out-the-vote rallies, according to Patrick’s former chief of staff, Doug Rubin.


Patrick is not the only high-profile Democrat heading to Alabama to campaign for Jones in the race to fill the seat formerly held by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker is also expected to visit African-American communities in the state this weekend to encourage them to vote on Tuesday, as are Georgia Representative John Lewis and several others.

The reason for that: For a Democrat to win in a heavily Republican state such as Alabama, that candidate must ensure a high turnout of African-American voters, who have overwhelmingly voted Democratic in recent years.

Alabama is familiar territory for Patrick. He has twice been involved in notable civil rights lawsuits in the state, including a suit tried against Sessions, then a local federal prosecutor. Patrick was part of a group of NAACP Legal Defense Fund lawyers who defended three black civil rights leaders against voter-fraud charges brought by Sessions. Over the years, as Sessions was up for one federal post after another — including US attorney general — Patrick registered his complaints. Now he’s working to help replace him in the Senate with a Democrat.


After leaving Beacon Hill, Patrick joined Bain Capital — the investment firm founded by his Republican predecessor in the State House, Mitt Romney. At Bain, Patrick started a new line of business directing investments in companies that produce profits but also have a positive impact on social problems.

There have been rumblings about Patrick running for president in 2020 but, until now, he’s kept a low profile, rarely attending political events or visiting other states in a political capacity.

James Pindell can be reached at james.pindell@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jamespindell or subscribe to his Ground Game newsletter on politics:http://pages.email.bostonglobe.com/GroundGameSignUp