Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick mulling Democratic White House run

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is considering making a late run for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to two people with knowledge of his deliberations, underscoring some Democrats’ deep uncertainty about the party’s current crop of contenders.

Patrick, a close friend and ally of former President Barack Obama, ruled out a presidential bid earlier this year but has since been talking with Democratic operatives and donors about launching a campaign. He has not made a final decision on whether to run, but he is expected to do so quickly, given fast-approaching deadlines to get on the ballot in key states.

Patrick is the second Democrat to weigh jumping into the race at this late juncture, less than three months before the kickoff Iowa caucuses. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is also reconsidering a run, citing concerns about the current Democratic frontrunners’ ability to defeat President Donald Trump. Bloomberg is expected to make a final decision on his 2020 prospects within days.

The people with knowledge of Patrick’s deliberations spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Though he ruled out a run earlier this year, Patrick reopened conversations with close friends and aides over the summer, but did not steps to form a campaign. In recent days, those conversations have intensified, with Patrick himself gauging interest in a run with donors and Democratic operatives.

He would face big hurdles to launching a campaign at this late stage. Unlike Bloomberg, a wealthy billionaire who would self-fund, Patrick would have to quickly raise money to build out a campaign operation and boost his familiarity with voters. Some of his former political advisers are already working for other 2020 candidates.

Patrick, who made history as Massachusetts’ first black governor, could gain traction in neighboring New Hampshire, which holds the first primary contest. However, he’d face stiff competition from two other neighboring contenders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, as well as former Vice President Joe Biden.

New Hampshire’s primary filing deadline is Friday.

Patrick flirted with the idea of launching a 2020 White House bid before deciding late last year against jumping into the race. At the time, he cited what he called the “cruelty” of the election process.

“After a lot of conversation, reflection and prayer, I’ve decided that a 2020 campaign for president is not for me,” Patrick posted on his Facebook page last year. Patrick said he and his wife worried that the “cruelty of our elections process would ultimately splash back on people whom Diane and I love, but who hadn’t signed up for the journey.”

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Associated Press writer Brian Slodysko contributed to this report.

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