Aleigha Cavalier is joining the Patrick campaign as communications director, and Samantha Joseph has signed on as director of states. Both worked on the presidential campaigns of candidates who have dropped out — Cavalier for former congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-Tex.) and Joseph for Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.).
Chelsie Ouellette, who worked in Patrick’s gubernatorial administration, is the national organizing director, while Porsha White, a political strategist with roots in the South, has signed on as deputy political director.
Patrick has brought in two senior advisers — Don Calloway, an attorney and former Missouri state legislator, and Rosy Gonzalez Speers, a former Patrick aide who has helped plan his presidential bid over the past several weeks. The only hire previously announced by the campaign is campaign manager Abe Rakov, who had been a senior adviser to O’Rourke.
The hires provide some heft and experience to Patrick’s unexpected, fledgling campaign. But his first two weeks as a candidate demonstrate the challenges of joining a race so late in the process.
He has missed the ballot in several states, does not have much of a fundraising network and has yet to open any campaign offices to begin recruiting volunteers.
Patrick’s first race, the 2006 gubernatorial campaign in Massachusetts, began with similarly remote odds. But in that case, he had far more time to build a grass-roots campaign and was operating in a single state.
This time, Patrick is jumping into what is a challenging environment even for candidates who have spent years preparing and have amassed millions in campaign contributions.
Patrick last week was scheduled to speak at Morehouse College in Atlanta, but CNN reported that the event was canceled when only two people showed up.
His narrow path to the nomination would most likely need to start with a respectable showing in New Hampshire. But the New Hampshire primary is just 77 days away, and the challenges confronting him were highlighted in a Boston Globe-Suffolk University poll released Monday.
In a survey of 500 likely Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire, only six chose Patrick. That gave him about 1 percent support in a state that neighbors the one he governed for eight years. Among other obstacles, two of his rivals who have been running for a much longer period — Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — also come from states neighboring New Hampshire.
Half of those polled said Patrick had waited too long to enter the race to merit their consideration, and 43 percent said they were open to considering him.
The silver lining for Patrick may be that the Democratic race is still wide open, with four candidates essentially tied and Sanders at the top in New Hampshire with 16 percent.
Still, only 1.4 percent of those surveyed in the poll had heard from Patrick’s campaign, giving his newly hired aides plenty of work to do.