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.
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 advisers 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.”
Civil rights hero John Lewis endorses Michael Capuano
Congressman John Lewis, the Georgia Democrat who has spent more than five decades fighting for civil rights in marches with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and in speeches and protests on the floor of the US House, is endorsing Representative Michael E. Capuano in his Democratic primary against Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley.
The endorsement is significant because of Lewis’ role in US history, but also because Capuano, who is white, faces Pressley, who is black, in a Boston-area district where the majority of residents are minorities.
“I know Mike Capuano as a champion and fierce advocate for those who have often been forgotten or left behind,” Lewis said in a statement released by the Capuano campaign.
“Whether it’s income inequality, civil rights, gun control, health care, affordable housing, gender pay inequity, immigration or transportation, Mike has been a leader alongside those of us opposing the unfair and immoral polices of the Trump administration,” Lewis added.
Lewis said Capuano knows President Trump’s policies are creating divisions and he’s been willing to “stand tall in opposing them.”
Lewis, who was first elected to Congress in 1986, said he has “come to deeply respect Mike Capuano for his leadership and courage on so many issues — that’s why I wholeheartedly support Mike for re-election and I stand with him in this campaign.”
Harvard University announced last month that Lewis would deliver this year’s commencement address.
Capuano, who has picked up the endorsements of the majority of his colleagues in the Massachusetts congressional delegation, was given a cold shoulder by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey, and Representatives Niki Tsongas and Seth Moulton.
None of them are endorsing in the primary race right now.
The Seventh Congressional District is made up of Somerville, Chelsea, Everett, Randolph, and parts of Cambridge, Milton, and Boston.
The primary election is set for Sept. 4.
There’s another candidate running for state Senate president
State Senator John F. Keenan, a Quincy Democrat, announced Tuesday that he is vying to be Senate president, joining a crowded field that has ebbed and flowed since Senator Stanley C. Rosenberg relinquished the post late last year after allegations about his husband’s behavior.
“In recent days, I have been approached by colleagues for discussions about the future of the Senate and the Senate presidency,” Keenan said in a statement to The Boston Globe.
“Encouraged by the confidence some have already expressed in me, I am prepared to ask my fellow senators if they would entrust me with this role,” the statement continued.
The 54-year-old said he has a “tremendous respect” for the institution of the Senate and the people who serve there, and “it would be a privilege to lead this body.”
Keenan, who sometimes leans moderate in a frequently liberal chamber, said in a short interview he would “bring a sense of practicality, pragmatism, a willingness to work with all members of the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the governor” to the job.
“If we are to move forward as a state,” he said, “we have to move forward together, and it’s important that the Senate play a role.”
Keenan, a graduate of Harvard College and Suffolk University Law School, was sworn in as a senator in 2011, after almost a decade on the Quincy City Council.
He also served as executive director of the Norfolk County Retirement System.
Several other Democratic senators have declared their ambitions for the top post. Senators Sal N. DiDomenico of Everett and Karen E. Spilka of Ashland have been angling for their colleagues’ support for weeks. Senator Eric P. Lesser of Longmeadow has also been working to gather support.
But others have given up the dream, at least for now. Linda Dorcena Forry, a Dorchester Democrat who was vying for the seat, left the Senate in January for the private sector.
And Senator Eileen M. Donoghue, a Lowell Democrat who was earlier in the race for the presidency, is eyeing the State House exits for a job in her hometown.
Rosenberg stepped aside as Senate president last year after the Globe detailed accusations from four men who alleged that his husband, Bryon Hefner, had sexually assaulted or harassed them and who said Hefner bragged he could influence Senate business.
Senators elevated Harriette L. Chandler of Worcester, to be acting president as the Senate investigated whether Rosenberg had broken chamber rules. But, this year, the Senate voted to drop the “acting” from Chandler’s title, an attempt in February to end weeks of intense political jockeying that had disrupted policy making on Beacon Hill.
Chandler has said she will relinquish the presidency in early January 2019, when the newly elected Senate will vote for a new leader.
That opening has meant the efforts to gain the chamber’s highest post have continued.
“The Senate president has made clear to her colleagues that anyone’s desire to be president should not interfere with the business of the Senate,” said Chandler spokesman Scott Zoback. “Members have largely abided by that request.”