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Deval Patrick says a 2020 presidential run is ‘on my radar screen’

Deval Patrick has largely shunned politics since leaving office in 2015.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff/file 2015

Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts who has largely shunned politics since leaving office and joining Bain Capital in 2015, is using some of his most direct language to date to acknowledge his interest in a presidential run in 2020.

“It’s on my radar screen,” Patrick told KCUR, a public radio station in Kansas City, where he was traveling last week for a civic event called “An Evening with Deval Patrick: Reinvesting in America.”

Patrick also spoke to the editorial board of the Kansas City Star about the polarized gun debate in the wake of the massacre in Parkland, Fla.


But his comments about running for president are likely to gain the most attention, as Democrats continue to cast about for a candidate who can effectively challenge President Trump.

David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, two former advisors to President Obama, are among those who have encouraged Patrick to consider running for the White House.

Patrick told KCUR “it’s a huge decision.”

“I am trying to think through 2020, and that’s a decision I’m trying to think through from a personal and family point of view and also whether what I believe is going to be on offer by somebody,” Patrick said. “And if it’s on offer by somebody then maybe what I can do is help that person. But we’ll see.”

Patrick has previously acknowledged his interest in a 2020 campaign, telling the New York Times last month that, “I think since the last presidential election everyone is asking themselves, rightly, whether we are doing all we’re supposed to be doing.”

Patrick, who served two terms as governor and was the first African-American to hold the job, has largely avoided politics since 2015, when he joined Bain Capital, the investment firm founded by his Republican predecessor, Mitt Romney.


But in December, Patrick spent a weekend in Alabama campaigning for Democratic Senate candidate Doug Jones, days before Jones defeated Roy Moore.

This month, Patrick tweeted for the first time in nearly three years to promote a podcast he recorded with Jennifer Granholm, the former Democratic governor of Michigan, in which they discuss a subsidized birth control program that has helped reduce teen birth and abortion rates in Colorado.

On Monday, Patrick spoke to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the influential pro-Israel lobby in Washington. In a brief address, he touted his two trade missions to Israel, and the strong ties between Massachusetts and Israel.

Speaking to KCUR, Patrick said he wants to campaign for Democrats running for office this year, and will travel where the party believes he can be helpful.

Patrick, while saying he supports tougher gun laws, also made some unusual comments showcasing his familiarity with firearms.

“I’ve hunted. My father-in-law and mother were gun owners. I used to go to the range with the troopers when I was in office,” Patrick told KCUR. Asked how good a shot he was, the former governor, said, “pretty good.”

“But at the same time, I grew up in a neighborhood where I heard gunfire outside,” said Patrick, who was raised in Chicago’s South Side. “So I understand the perspective around gun ownership from various viewpoints.”

Michael Levenson can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @mlevenson.