Patrick announced his campaign last November, long after most of his Democratic opponents. He had planned to enter the race earlier, he said, but postponed his launch after his wife, Diane, was diagnosed with uterine cancer.
Patrick acknowledged his relatively late entrance into what was already a crowded race in his campaign launch video.
“I admire and respect the candidates in the Democratic field; they bring a richness of ideas and experience and a depth of character that makes me proud to be a Democrat,” Patrick said. “But if the character of the candidates is an issue in every election, this time is about the character of the country. This time is about whether the day after the election, America will keep her promises.”
Touting his bio — an African American man who grew up on the South Side of Chicago — as well as his gubernatorial record, Patrick tried to stand out in a field full of moderate Democrats that was quickly declining in diversity. He was fond of saying that, while other candidates had plans, he had “delivered results” in Massachusetts. He favored building on the Affordable Care Act rather than Medicare-for-all, the approach touted by the other remaining candidate from his home state, Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
For the few months he was in the primary race, Patrick largely eschewed campaigning in Iowa, and instead chose to focus on the neighboring state of New Hampshire, as well as on African American voters in South Carolina.
After the Iowa caucuses, where former vice president Joe Biden finished a disappointing fourth, Patrick began indicating Biden’s support among black voters in South Carolina could be “soft,” suggesting that could be a window of opportunity for him. He never made it to the Palmetto State, instead dropping out two weeks before the South Carolina primary.
Patrick’s exit leaves a once historically diverse Democratic field with no black candidates.