Deval Patrick Launches New PAC as 2020 Speculation Mounts

Former Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick / Getty

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D.) appears to be following the tried and tested path of previous White House aspirants. On Wednesday, Patrick launched a new political action committee (PAC) aimed at supporting Democratic candidates in the upcoming midterms, according to The Boston Globe.

The group–Reason to Believe PAC–will be run by two of Patrick's former top aides and plans to mobilize the Democratic Party's grassroots base to act this election cycle when "the true character of [America] is at stake."

"As progressives, we can lead the country out of a dark chapter of division," the organization's website states. "In 2018, the true character of our country is at stake–and we must come together to ensure that our country remains generous, giving, broad, and inclusive."

Reason To Believe PAC hopes to accomplish this by promoting candidates and causes that share Patrick's "positive vision and policy agenda" for the nation.

"In the coming months, we will be supporting candidates and causes that share Governor Deval Patrick’s view that we accomplish more when we turn to each other, not on each other," the group states. "Reason To Believe PAC will support Democrats’ grassroots efforts to take back the Senate and the House of Representatives, and promote Governor Patrick’s positive vision and policy agenda for the country."

Groups like Reason To Beleive PAC have proliferated in recent years as candidates with presidential ambitions have sought a reason to travel the country campaigning for candidates—thereby raising their national profile without making their intentions overtly obvious.

The PAC's formation, while occurring late in the 2018 cycle, is the most blatant signal, to date, that Patrick is gearing up for a presidential campaign. The governor has been increasingly active on the campaign trail since his initial return to the political stage last fall to stump for Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in Alabama. Earlier this summer, he journeyed to Texas to campaign with Collin Allred, the Democratic nominee in the state's 32nd Congressional District.

Speculation of Patrick's White House candidacy was tipped in August 2017, when Politico reported several former Obama administration officials were urging the governor to run. Patrick, a native of Illinois, has long been a political confidant of the former president and his inner circle, including David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett. In 2014, when then-Attorney General Eric Holder announced his resignation, Patrick was considered a top contender to replace him at the helm of the Justice Department.

Patrick made history when he was elected the first African-American governor of Massachusetts in 2006.

Serving as the Bay State's chief executive for two-terms, Patrick championed gun-control, education, and transportation initiatives. His tenure was not without its controversies; Patrick notably reimbursed taxpayers $10,000 after his staff spent lavishly on custom drapes and furniture for the governor's personal office, while Massachusetts was dealing with a budget impasse.

Since leaving the governorship, Patrick has worked as a managing director of Bain Captial, a Boston based venture capital firm started by former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. It is unclear if his ties to Bain will be a disqualifier for the Democratic nomination, especially in light of the attacks the party's leadership leveled at the firm and Romney during the 2012 presidential campaign.

In April, Patrick floated a pre-emptive defense of his career at Bain, claiming he's "never taken a job" that's forced him to leave his "conscience at the door."