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Deval bows out

Brian Wright O’Connor
Deval bows out
Deval Patrick tours black history sites in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. PHOTO: BRIAN O’CONNOR

Deval Patrick ended his long-shot bid for the White House last week after a single-digit showing in the key New Hampshire primary left him with a near-impossible pathway to victory.

The former Massachusetts governor entered the race in November, more than a year after most Democratic candidates had launched their campaigns, and struggled to gain a foothold, never qualifying for high-profile national debates and lagging in fundraising.

In spite of the obstacles, Patrick, 63, pushed ahead, hoping his message of hope and unity —“Deval for All” — would gain traction as he skipped the Iowa caucus and barnstormed across the Granite State.

“The vote in New Hampshire last night was not enough for us to create the practical wind at the campaign’s back to go on to the next round of voting,” said Patrick in a statement released last week. “So I have decided to suspend the campaign, effective immediately.”

The departure of the Bay State’s first African American governor, along with entrepreneur Andrew Yang and Sen. Michael Bennett, who also dropped out of the race last week, leaves six candidates in the field as the primary contest moves on to the Nevada caucus on Feb. 22 and the South Carolina primary on Feb. 29. The richest delegate haul in the march to the nomination will take place on Super Tuesday, March 3, when voters in 14 states, including Massachusetts, California and Texas, cast their ballots.

Patrick received 0.4% of the vote in New Hampshire and no delegates, lagging far behind winner Sen. Bernie Sanders, who received 26%; former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg with 24.4%; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar with 10.7%; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren with 9.3%; and former Vice President Joe Biden with 8.4%.

Patrick, a gifted orator with a proven ability to move audiences, delayed his entry into the race because of his wife Diane’s bout with cancer, which was in remission by the time of his announcement last fall. He made tentative forays into other states, but ended up staking his campaign on New Hampshire, showing up in small towns and larger communities in a 13-week sprint to the Feb. 11 primary.

After leaving the corner office in 2015, Patrick worked at Bain Capital, directing investments in a “Double Impact Fund” to boost companies benefiting social and environmental goals. In leaving the presidential race, he vowed to continue to work towards social and economic goals jeopardized by the current administration.

“I am not suspending my commitment to help — there is still work to be done,” said Patrick. “We are facing the most consequential election of our lifetime. Our democracy itself, let alone our civic commitments to equality, opportunity and fair play, are at risk.”

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