Former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick’s 2020 presidential campaign isn’t getting off to a rousing start. After speaking to a near empty room in Las Vegas, Nevada, last week, Patrick was allegedly forced to cancel a planned event at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, after only two people showed up.
Patrick announced his candidacy for president late last week, the same day former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg began filing paperwork in South Carolina for his own potential presidential run. In an introduction video, Patrick explained that the slate of potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidates was not large enough, and that no one running could bridge the gap between progressives and moderates long enough to beat President Donald Trump.
Unfortunately for Patrick, if the field of 2020 nominees is lacking something, it doesn’t seem to be him.
Last week, he was the headlining entry at the First in the West conference, a Las Vegas convention designed to give the Democratic candidates a chance to introduce themselves to Nevada voters, who will cast their ballots almost immediately after Iowa and New Hampshire (former vice president Joe Biden is expected to win). Patrick’s reception was perhaps best described as anemic.
Deval Patrick is the last candidate to speak at the First in the West event here in Las Vegas.
This is the audience that is left: pic.twitter.com/gYPaHVgwfv
— Dan Merica (@merica) November 18, 2019
But his Las Vegas appearance was downright crowded to his appearance schedule for Wednesday night in Atlanta. Patrick scheduled an event to run opposite the Democrats’ presidential debate, at the same time, in the same city, potentially to make up for not appearing in the debate itself — after all, with only three days lead time, he was hardly going to have the national name recognition and the fundraising power necessary to make a showing.
Exactly two people showed up, and those two people were recruited by event organizers.
Governor @DevalPatrick was supposed to have an event at Morehouse College tonight. An organizer with the college who planned the event told CNN that Patrick cancelled the event when he arrived and learned that he would not have an audience. (Note, two people came, not pictured) pic.twitter.com/CzNjWYcWKJ
— Annie Grayer (@AnnieGrayerCNN) November 21, 2019
“Governor @DevalPatrick was supposed to have an event at Morehouse College tonight. An organizer with the college who planned the event told CNN that Patrick cancelled the event when he arrived and learned that he would not have an audience (Note, two people came, not pictured),” CNN’s Annie Grayer reported.
The campaign quickly told reporters that they had a plane to catch, according to Newsweek, and called off the event, promising to reschedule at a later time, presumably after Patrick has realized his campaign is headed nowhere and just wants to speak to students.
“The event organizer and New Deal Democrats campaign group founder Julian Hemmings confirmed that only two people showed up at the event in an email to Newsweek, noting that the headcount did not include members of the press and organizers,” Newsweek reported. “Hemmings added that the former governor told New Deal Democrats he couldn’t make the event because ‘he had a flight to catch,’ and went on to say NDD were ‘pleased’ that Patrick wanted to come to Morehouse College, describing the former governor as ‘truly inspiring.'”
This won’t just be disappointing to Patrick. It may be disappointing to no less than Barack Obama. Left-leaning publications have speculated that Patrick is Obama’s choice to be his heir apparent, and that he pushed Patrick, who demurred on running earlier in 2019, to throw his hat in the ring after a clear frontrunner didn’t appear among the existing candidates.