Massachusetts governors sure do like running for president

Former Massachusetts governor Jane Swift.
Former Massachusetts governor Jane Swift. Bill Brett/Globe Staff/File 2006

The news that Deval Patrick is running for president gives unique status to another former Massachusetts governor, Jane Swift.

And not because of what Swift did as governor, but because of what she hasn’t done afterward.

Swift, who served for the remainder of the late Governor Paul Celluci’s term from 2001 to 2003, now becomes the only living former Massachusetts governor who hasn’t run for president.

Mitt Romney ran twice — first in 2008 and then in 2012, when he won the Republican nomination but lost to President Barack Obama. Bill Weld is currently running in the Republican primary against President Trump. And Michael Dukakis won the Democratic nomination in 1988, but lost to President George H.W. Bush.


Now, can we be sure Swift won’t jump into the race? According to Swift, we can.

“The only running I am doing is the standard #roadrace type,” the former Republican governor, who has since made a career as an education executive, tweeted Monday in response to an inquiring Twitter user, two days before Patrick formally entered the race.

“The fact that I am heading to #Wisconsin for a winter 10-miler is just a weird coincidence,” she added.

Swift went on to say she is used to being an “outlier” in the club of former Massachusetts governors.

After all, she remains the only woman to have ever served as Massachusetts governor and was the country’s youngest-ever female governor.

“Add this to the list,” Swift wrote Monday.

An avid runner (at least according to her periodic posts and photos on Twitter), the 54-year-old joked that she could probably at least beat her peers in a 10K race or half-marathon, even if Patrick “looks pretty fit.”

No word on whether Patrick or any of Swift’s other peers will step up to her challenge of an actual long-distance race.


Patrick’s entry into the crowded Democratic field means that every single occupant of the State House’s corner office from the beginning of Dukakis’s second stint in 1983 to 2015 — with the exception of the less than five-and-a-half-year period when Cellucci and Swift served — has run for the White House.

Patrick, who was governor from 2007 to 2015, also adds to the preponderance of Massachusetts natives and elected officials who have entered the 2020 field.

In addition to Weld’s anti-Trump campaign in the GOP primary, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is among the top-tier candidates in contention for the Democratic nomination. US Representative Seth Moulton also had a short-lived run in the 2020 race. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who grew up in Cambridge, also briefly gave it a shot.

Former New York City mayor and Medford native Michael Bloomberg is now also reportedly reconsidering his decision not to run. Mike Gravel, a former Alaska senator and Springfield native (or at least, several of his teenage supporters), also launched a quixotic, mostly-online campaign.

Despite Bay Staters’ apparent interest in the White House, there is another noteworthy pattern: Their recent penchant for losing general elections.

In addition to Dukakis and Romney, former Massachusetts senator John Kerry also came up short in 2004.

To find the last Bay Stater who actually won a presidential election, you have to go back to John F. Kennedy — or, if we’re being generous, President George H.W. Bush, who was born in Milton, but is more closely tied to Texas and Maine.


And, of course, that’s only if you don’t count a former Somerville resident: Barack Obama.

Nik DeCosta-Klipa can be reached at N.Decosta-Klipa@boston.com. Follow him on Twitter @NikDeCostaKlipa