Diane Patrick, the wife of former governor Deval Patrick, is wading into the Fourth Congressional District race to endorse Jesse Mermell, a former adviser to her husband, offering a rare public show of support — and a potential boost to her war chest as well.
Patrick, senior counsel at international law firm Ropes & Gray, will be among the hosts for a pair of fund-raisers for Mermell, including Tuesday at the Fairmont Copley Plaza, as Mermell tries to establish herself within the crowded Democratic field vying for Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III’s open seat.
While her husband has remained politically active — Deval Patrick last year considered a run for president and endorsed then-Congressman Michael Capuano in his ultimately unsuccessful bid to fend off challenger Ayanna Pressley — Diane Patrick has kept a relatively low political profile since she was the state’s first lady.
She, too, endorsed Capuano, but back in 2009 in a Senate Democratic primary in which Deval Patrick remained neutral. And there are no records of her donating to candidates in Federal Election Commission files.
Patrick has been an outspoken advocate on a range of other issues, however, from domestic violence to mental health, and she and Mermell on Wednesday met with officials at a local mental health facility as part of Mermell’s tour of the district.
Mermell’s campaign emphasized that Diane Patrick’s endorsement is hers alone. Whether Deval Patrick — for whom Mermell served as communications director — gets involved in the race is unclear. A spokesman for Bain Capital, where Patrick is a managing director, did not respond to a question about Patrick’s plans Thursday.
“I’ve seen up close the passion, intellect and values which drive Jesse Mermell and I know she will make a tremendous addition to our state’s delegation in Congress,” Diane Patrick said in a statement released by Mermell’s campaign.
Patrick administration alums are among the dozens of hosts for Tuesday’s fund-raiser, including former chief legal counsel Kate Cook and Maeve Vallely Bartlett, Patrick’s former environmental secretary. Others include Georgia Murray, the Boston philanthropist; former Suffolk University president Margaret McKenna; and Bennie Wiley and Carol Fulp, both former presidents of The Partnership.
Patrick will again help raise money for Mermell in early December at the Boston Seaport Hotel, an event also hosted by former US attorney Wayne Budd and his wife, Jacqui; Fulp and her husband, Bernie; and others, according to a copy of the invitation.
The Fourth District field has ballooned to a half-dozen candidates since Kennedy announced he would forgo reelection to challenge Senator Edward Markey. Besides Mermell, two Newton city councilors — Becky Walker Grossman and Jake Auchincloss — have declared, as has Alan Khazei, the cofounder of City Year, and Dave Cavell, a former speechwriter for President Obama. Ihssane Leckey, a self-described democratic socialist, launched her campaign before Kennedy’s announcement.
It could ultimately include a seventh, too: Thomas G. Shack III, the former state comptroller and a Brookline Democrat, said Thursday he is considering a run, a process that has included speaking with state Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg and other officials.
Shack touted the work he’s done with Democrats and Republicans as the state’s independent financial watchdog, saying he has an “understanding of how to bridge the differences.”
“I think I have a unique background,” said Shack, also a former prosecutor. “The question is whether that unique background and my relationships and experiences are ones that would be useful in Washington.”