Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) announced early Thursday that he will run for president, entering a crowded and fluid race for the Democratic nomination.

He made the announcement in a YouTube video while posting a 2020 campaign image on Facebook.

“I admire and respect the candidates in the Democratic field,” he said in the video. “But if the character of the candidates is an issue in every election, this time is about the character of the country.”

{mosads}“In a spirit of profound gratitude for all the country has given to me and with the determination to build a better, more sustainable, more inclusive American dream for the next generation, I am today announcing my candidacy for president of the United States.”

His announcement comes ahead of the deadline to register in the New Hampshire primary on Friday, a state in which Patrick hopes to be competitive after serving two terms as governor of a neighboring state.

Patrick’s entrance to the race comes as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is also considering a presidential run.

The Democratic race for the nomination so far has seen former Vice President Joe Biden struggle as a front-runner, as Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) challenge him from the left.

The lack of a clear favorite among the centrist candidates, with South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg running fourth, is seen as encouraging moderates such as Bloomberg and Patrick to enter the race.

The evolving race showcases the angst felt by some Democrats worried that Warren and Sanders could lose a general election against President Trump.

“There’s already one Massachusetts elitist liberal running in the Democrat field, yet Deval Patrick must think she, nor any of the other candidates aren’t good enough. Reminder: Patrick doesn’t stand a chance against President Trump either,” Republican National Committee spokesman Steve Guest said in a statement on Thursday.

Patrick had ruled out a 2020 bid last year, citing the impact a presidential run could have on his family.

But he has reached out to Democrats recently arguing he could bring liberal and moderate Democrats together. 

He will likely face an uphill climb in the primary, given his late entry

Patrick becomes the 18th presidential candidate in a race that has already seen some high-profile departures like former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Historically, candidates who have entered presidential primaries late do not last long, and Patrick will not have as much time to amplify his campaign in early primary and caucus states.

He could see an opening in New Hampshire, and could make inroads in South Carolina’s primary as an African American. 

Biden has led in South Carolina and is seen as the favored candidate for African American Democrats, despite the presence of Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), both of whom have struggled in the race.

— This breaking news report was updated at 7:15 a.m.

Tags Bernie Sanders Beto O'Rourke Bill de Blasio Cory Booker Deval Patrick Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Joe Biden Kirsten Gillibrand Michael Bloomberg Pete Buttigieg
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