Here’s the plan, according to Deval Patrick: Focus on Bain Capital this summer. Campaign for Democrats this fall. And then?
Patrick has previously acknowledged that running for president in 2020 is “on my radar screen.”
On Friday, he declined to say how seriously he is considering a campaign, but sketched a timeframe for ramping up his political activity this year.
Patrick, the former governor, said now that his business at Bain Capital is “up and running . . . I can have a little more room to have a public voice.”
“You don’t want to be on the sidelines when there’s so much at stake and the democracy feels in jeopardy in some ways,” he said in an interview on WGBH-FM’s Boston Public Radio show, hosted by Jim Braude and Margery Eagan, which is scheduled to air Monday. “And so I want to help where I can. I’m going to focus real hard on my business through the summer, at minimum. I’m going to be more involved in the midterms in the fall, and I want to help in the presidential.”
Patrick would need more time to prepare a race than other major Democrats like Senator Elizabeth Warren or former vice president Joe Biden because he lacks a national following and would need to start building a case for his candidacy. That means his earlier moves merit closer attention.
Until recently, he had avoided partisan politics since leaving Beacon Hill, focused on building his business at Bain Capital, the investment firm founded by his Republican predecessor, Mitt Romney, which Patrick joined after leaving office in 2015.
But in recent months, Patrick has begun reentering the political fray, joining a long list of Democrats enticed to challenge President Trump.
In December, Patrick campaigned for Alabama Democrat Doug Jones in the Senate race.
Last month, he tweeted for the first time in nearly three years to promote a podcast he recorded with Jennifer Granholm, the former Democratic governor of Michigan. Patrick also popped up last month at a meeting in Washington of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the influential pro-Israel lobby.
But Patrick insisted Friday that he does not need to make a decision any time soon.
“I don’t feel rushed,” he said. “I mean, really, I’m taking things a step at a time.”
Members of former president Barack Obama’s inner circle have reportedly been among those who have encouraged Patrick to consider running.
“I’m getting encouragement from a number of places and sources,” Patrick said. “But mostly I’m concerned about the country and I’m concerned about the democracy. I’m not the only one.”
He would not say whether he’s gotten a nudge from Obama himself.
Most of Friday’s WGBH interview focused on Patrick’s memories of the Boston Marathon bombing five years ago.
But Patrick was also asked about Trump, whose 15 months in office he called “chaotic, disappointing, embarrassing, and dangerous.”
“But I will say, I think that candidate Trump spoke one truth, and that was that conventional or establishment politics wasn’t working well enough for an awful lot of people,” Patrick said. “And I think that is a truth worth paying attention to.”
While Patrick endured two tough campaigns for governor, he acknowledged that running for president is “not quite the same thing.” Asked what makes him hesitant about launching a campaign, Patrick laughed.
“I have a brain,” he said. “Have you seen what the process is like?”