Deval Patrick, the former Massachusetts governor who in November made a late entrance into the Democratic 2020 race, ended his campaign on Wednesday, according to a statement provided to CNN.
“I believed and still believe we had a strong case to make for being able to deliver better outcomes,” Patrick said. “But the vote in New Hampshire last night was not enough for us to create the practical wind at the campaign’s back to go on to the next round of voting. So I have decided to suspend the campaign, effective immediately.”
He added: “I am not suspending my commitment to help – there is still work to be done. We are facing the most consequential election of our lifetime. Our democracy itself, let alone our civic commitments to equality, opportunity and fair play, are at risk.
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The announcement comes after Patrick, by getting less than 1,300 votes, turned in a disappointing performance on Tuesday night in New Hampshire, his neighboring state.
A disheartened Patrick told supporters on Tuesday night that he and his wife needed to “go home and rest and reflect on this outcome and make some decisions tomorrow morning about what the future of this campaign can and should be.”
“No matter whether it is a candidate for president, or as a public citizen. I’m going to stay involved,” Patrick said. “No matter what decision we make tomorrow morning about the practical ability of this campaign to continue. I’m going to stay involved, and so must you.”
That conversation led Patrick to decide to end his campaign. He will email his supporters later on Wednesday to explain his decision.
Patrick had skipped the Iowa caucuses and pinned his hopes on stronger-than-expected performances in New Hampshire and South Carolina as the Democratic field winnowed.
His hope: Regional connections in New England, and his appeal as the last African American candidate in southern states where black voters make up the majority of the Democratic electorate, would lead voters to give him a late look.
But, in the end, he was merely a blip in New Hampshire, overshadowed by the top-tier candidates.
Patrick’s campaign underscored the difficulty of jumping into a presidential race months after other campaigns had begun raising money, hiring staffers, recruiting volunteers and developing policy platforms.
He’d hired some staffers, including campaign manager Abe Rakov, who had just departed former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s campaign after O’Rourke withdrew from the race.
And he raised $2.2 million in the first six weeks of his campaign.
In photos: Former presidential candidate Deval Patrick
But Patrick’s late entrance came around the same time former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg had decided to enter the race and pour hundreds of millions of his own wealth into advertisements.
Unlike Bloomberg, the former Massachusetts governor – who was backed by a super PAC that pumped nearly $2 million into ads in New Hampshire – never gained significant traction in the polls.
In November, a week after entering the race he’d attempted to campaign in the Atlanta as the Democratic field descended on the city for a debate for which Patrick had not qualified. But he had to cancel an event at Morehouse College after just two people showed up. A CNN reporter’s photo of the room filled with empty chairs went viral.
Patrick campaigned as a moderate, calling for a public option to be added to Obamacare rather than supporting “Medicare for All,” a government-run single-payer health program.
We face “the usual hurdle, which is trying to persuade people that nobody else gets to make this decision for them,” Patrick said in an interview with CNN in January. “This race is wide open and the other candidates who have spent months and months and years and years, millions of dollars, making themselves famous but not locking down the race.”
Patrick, who is close to former President Barack Obama, left the job he took in 2015 at Bain Capital, the Boston-based investment firm that was the targets of Democrats in 2012 because Mitt Romney was one of its founders.
He told CNN as he entered the race of his work at Bain, “I’m a capitalist. I’m not a market fundamentalist. I don’t think private markets in the private sector solves every problem that needs to be solved in our society right on time.”