Former Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts has told Democratic officials that he is considering making a last-minute entry into the 2020 presidential race, according to two Democrats with knowledge of the conversations, the latest evidence of how unsettled the party’s presidential primary is less than three months before the Iowa caucuses.
Mr. Patrick has told party leaders that he doesn’t think any of the candidates running have established political momentum and that he thinks there is an opening for somebody who can unite both liberals and moderate Democrats, according to Democrats who have spoken to him.
At the same time, Massachusetts Democrats close to Mr. Patrick have started to reach out to prominent party leaders in early nominating states to alert them that he may run, according to one Democrat who has received an inquiry.
A pair of moderate candidates — former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind. — and two progressives — Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont — are now dividing the vote in Iowa and New Hampshire, according to recent polls. But none of them has been able to pull away.
Mr. Patrick’s candidacy could reshape the already-fluid primary field. A two-term Massachusetts governor, he is well known in next-door New Hampshire, which holds the first-in-the-nation primary in February. And as one of the first black governors in the country’s history, he could also prove a formidable candidate in South Carolina, where black voters are expected to make up more than half the Democratic electorate.
To compete in New Hampshire’s primary, Mr. Patrick would have to file there this week: The deadline to appear on the state’s ballot is Friday.
Mr. Patrick traveled to some early nominating states last year but decided against a presidential bid last November, saying at the time that he did not want the “cruelty of our elections process” to adversely impact his family.
The governor did not immediately reply to a text message seeking comment on Monday. Last month, when he was asked to fully rule out the prospect of a last-minute entry, Mr. Patrick said: “Don’t ask me that question.”
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