A new web site — Deval Patrick.com — popped up on April 2nd. If if you click on it — what you will read is, “Coming Soon!”
Deval Patrick for those who don’t know, is about to announce his candidacy for Governor of Massachusetts. He is the former Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in the Clinton administration — and he is positioning himself as the progressive, outsider candidate. He has been getting positive reviews as he has toured the state, hearing whats on the minds of citizens, elected officials, and party leaders. While he has recieved encouragement and advice from Bill Clinton, of greater importance is that interest and enthusiasm has been building here in the Bay State. Some say he may be Massachusetts’ answer to Barak Obama.
Patrick is very smart, gracious, charismatic, honest and earnest. He comes across as a non-pol who is capable of broad appeal. He clearly cares deeply about the lives of ordinary people — his extensive resume in corporate America not withstanding. (Although that continues to worry some.) He has a broad, non-parochial vision of the Commonwealth. With the cooperation of an increasingly progressive and overwhelmingly Democratic state legislature, he would have a largely unencumbered opportunity to take bold and sweeping steps instead of tiny increments in such areas as health care, which he said would be his highest priority. Progressives hope he may emerge as their standard bearer in the Democratic primaries against the much more conservative Attorney General Tom Reilly and Secretary of the Commonwealth, William Galvin.
A few weeks ago, Peter Vickery, the elected Governor’s Councilor from western, MA [the Governors Council ratifies judicial nominations in MA) convened a group of about 20 progressive democratic activists and leaders. He reports that “the people who were in the room, were enthusiastic about Deval’s candidacy and agreed that they would urge thier organizations to back him. I came away from the meeting, agreeing to support him openly.”
“Deval Patrick is a progressive democrat in the broadest sense,” Vickery concludes, “and he is getting the support of progressives who are determined to win the gubernatorial election in 2006.”
Columnist David A. Mitchell at the Quincy Patriot-Ledger, reporting from the home town of the state Democratic Party, says a star it born.
Patrick, Mitchell writes, has the “Barak Obama factor” working for him. He describes this as “the realization, 40 years after the enactment of the Voting Rights Act, that there is a largely untapped reservoir of white support for excellent black candidates.”
“Massachusetts demonstrated that a year after the Voting Rights Act was enacted”, Mitchell continued, “when, in 1966, Edward W. Brooke was elected to the U.S. Senate.”
“Thomas I. Atkins, running citywide, was elected to the Boston City Council in 1967; and John O’Bryant, also running citywide, was elected to the Boston School Committee in 1979.”
“Such black electoral successes with white support were admittedly exceptional in the racial hurly-burly of the 1960s and ’70s, and tend to be forgotten today. But the effect of historical amnesia is an erroneous presumption that black candidates are unelectable in white-majority districts.”
“Obama belatedly exploded that presumption with his election to the U.S. Senate from Illinois last year. The Obama effect, I think, is a release of pent-up political energy, multiracial in its composition, that is newly willing to support, and finance, candidates of Obama’s – and Deval Patrick’s – caliber… “
“As President Kennedy put it about himself, ‘The torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans.'”
“It is the sense of a fair prince,” Mitchell concludes, “arrived in the presence of tired men and tired ideas, with new inspiration. Patrick is articulate, friendly and relaxed, but serious. I expect him to be an effective phenom!”
But the nature of the phenom is not all, in Mitchell’s view, charisma and buzz. Its also about being a smart and efffective pol.
“He has impressed many of the Democratic ward and town committee members who will select, and in many cases be, the delegates who will endorse a gubernatorial candidate at the state convention. I am told he is ahead of Reilly in getting out among these people.”
Not bad for the outsider, first time, and as yet unannounced candidate.
Bloggers have also been tracking Patrick’s emerging candidacy.
Charley from Blue Mass Group had reports from Patrick’s recent meeting with Democrats in Cambridge.
And .o8 Acres and a Donkey had this account: “While some Massachusetts progressives may have oversold him, I have to admit that he is the most charismatic of the current presumptive crop of Democratic candidates for governor. He took a page out of the Dean playbook by saying that he hoped his campaign would revive a sense of civic engagement… What really impressed me, though, was that his prepared remarks lasted roughly half an hour and he spent the rest of his time taking questions from the crowd. He knew that many of us were there just to check him out and he wasn’t afraid to devote the majority of his time to respond to the group.”
Of course, there will certainly be no shortage of opportunities to hear Patrick and for that matter the other likely candidates, Tom Reilly and Bill Galvin, who are far better known and been elected to statewide office. Here are a few such opportunities.
Patrick will be addressing the Lexington Democratic Town committee on April 14th. All are welcome to attend.
He will also be addressing the Cape and Islands Democratic Council (CIDC) Jefferson-Jackson Dinner at the Radisson on April 30th. For more information on tickets, time, etc., contact Kathy Ohman, CIDC chair at email@example.com.
Meanwhile it looks like the MA Democratic Platform Convention on May 14th in Lowell will feature presentations by all three, all-but-declared (and they all may be declared by then) Democratic candidates for governor. U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy is scheduled to speak — and possibly Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean.
[Cross-posted from FrederickClarkson.com]