By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – While Gov. Deval Patrick left office nearly four years ago, it seems he didn’t leave behind his thirst for the political spotlight. But word of his potential entry into the Democratic presidential race raises plenty of questions.

“I thought he was a spectacular candidate and campaigner,” said Gov. Charlie Baker when we asked about his predecessor’s interest in the race. But while Baker acknowledged Patrick’s campaign-trail charm, he raised a crucial question about this potential run.

“I think a presidential campaign, especially in this day and age, is gonna be as much about the message as it is about anything else,” Baker said.

And what exactly will Patrick’s message be?

Gov. Deval Patrick and Gov.-Elect Charlie Baker in 2014 (WBZ-TV)

If he plans on emphasizing his connection with former President Obama, he’ll have to compete with Obama’s former Vice President, Joe Biden, and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who’s been branding himself as this year’s Obama model.

Does Patrick plan to cash in on our proximity to New Hampshire? Good luck with that, what with neighbor-state Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders already running strong there.

Patrick and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg are both cast as stepping in to save the party from its left-wing, anti-business drift.

But stories like this one highlighting Patrick’s ties with a predatory mortgage lender won’t help him market a pro-business narrative.

And the truth is, there’s no reason to think voters are pining for new candidates in the first place.

So could a very late entry by Deval Patrick into a race without a clear opening for him succeed?

In the era of Trump, you never say never. But Trump jumped in with money, time and a unique niche going for him.

Patrick has none of that.

Jon Keller


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