2020 Presidential Profiles

Published — November 14, 2019

9 things to know about Deval Patrick

FILE - In this May 7, 2017 file photo, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick arrives at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston for the 2017 Profile in Courage award ceremony. (AP/Steven Senne, File)

Former Massachusetts governor’s late entry could scramble Democratic presidential primary

Introduction

Back in December 2018, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said he wouldn’t run for president because of the “cruelty” of the nominating process and how that process might affect his family.

Patrick is apparently over his misgivings, today entering the Democratic presidential primary months after most other candidates jumped in — and well after several others have already dropped out. Iowa’s first-in-the-nation presidential caucus is scheduled for Feb. 3, with New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary scheduled for Feb. 11. By his own acknowledgement, Patrick is a “Hail Mary” candidate.

Patrick is running for president, he said in a video announcement, “in a spirit of profound gratitude for all the country has given to me, and with a determination to build a better, more sustainable, more inclusive American dream for the next generation.” 

After leaving Massachusetts’ governorship in 2015, Patrick — just one of two African-American men to serve as a state governor — joined Bain Capital as managing director. The company describes itself as “one of the world’s leading private multi-asset alternative investment firms.” Patrick has also worked for Coca-Cola Co. and oil company Texaco Inc. 

Patrick’s business acumen will likely clash with the campaign platforms of two Democratic primary frontrunners and fellow New Englanders in Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Both Warren and Sanders, who’ve been running for president for months, have been outspoken critics of the ultra-wealthy. 

Here’s what you should know about Patrick’s personal and political finances over the years:

  • In his two successful bids for governor, Patrick raised a total of more than $38 million in contributions, according to the National Institute on Money in Politics. He outraised his Republican opponents in both races by narrow margins — by only about $520,000 in 2010 and by $1.3 million in 2006.
  • Patrick has personally contributed tens of thousands of dollars to various Democratic candidates and causes in recent years, including thousands of dollars during the 2018 election cycle to a pair of current Democratic presidential rivals: Warren and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. Earlier this year, Patrick also contributed $2,700 to the campaign of Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass. — one of the four members of “The Squad,” which also includes Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.; Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.; and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.
  • A year into his governorship in 2008, Patrick signed a $1.35 million deal with Random House to write his autobiography, “A Reason to Believe.” Ten years later, Patrick’s longtime advisers, including John Walsh, who once headed the Massachusetts Democratic Party, launched a political action committee named after the book’s title, the Reason to Believe PAC, aimed at “advancing a positive, progressive vision for our country in 2018 and 2020.”
  • According to the Federal Election Commission, the Reason to Believe PAC went on to raise nearly $850,000 — mostly from a handful of big-dollar donors, according to OpenSecrets.org — and made contributions to liberal candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives last year. In July, well after Patrick’s announcement in December that he wouldn’t run for president, the PAC officially folded. But: Patrick has indicated he many need the help of a super PAC — an organization that may raise and spend unlimited sums of money to advocate for or against political candidates — or “some kind” of PAC to win the presidency. “I wish it wasn’t so,” he told the Washington Post‘s Dave Weigel hours after announcing.
  • From 2004 to 2006, Patrick served on the board of directors of ACC Capital Holdings, the parent company of subprime lenders Ameriquest and Argent Mortgage, earning $360,000 a year, according to the Boston Globe. In 2005, Patrick wrote to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in support of Roland Arnall, the owner of ACC Capital Holdings, after President George W. Bush nominated him to be the ambassador to the Netherlands. The move raised eyebrows, but Patrick defended his relationship with Arnall, describing him as “a good man” who would make a “fine ambassador.” Arnall, who briefly served as ambassador before resigning, was also a major Republican Party donor who contributed $1 million to Bush’s second inauguration.
  • As governor, Patrick in 2007 announced that he would repay Massachusetts thousands of dollars of public funds he had spent on upgrades to his office, which famously included $10,000 damask drapes.
  • In 2009, Patrick signed a sweeping ethics reform bill he had championed that levied harsher penalties for campaign finance violations and banned nearly all gifts to public officials, among other provisions, and established a Public Integrity Task Force.
  • Patrick in 2014 signed a law increasing individual campaign contribution limits for state candidates and requiring additional disclosures for super political action committees.
  • The most recent, available personal financial disclosure for Patrick comes from 2014 and give little indication of his overall wealth. The 2014 disclosure, filed with Massachusetts regulators, showed Patrick earned more than $100,000 as governor and owned securities in Chevron worth more than $1,000. But in 2006, at the dawn of Patrick’s run as governor, the Boston Globe reported that Patrick was exceedingly wealthy — earning more than $3.8 million and held stock in more than 250 companies. (See all of Patrick’s gubernatorial personal financial disclosure filings here.)

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