Our Opinion: Patrick's base voices support

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Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick's impact on the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination will be seen in the weeks and months ahead, but it can at least be said that the presence of a local entry in the field has energized Berkshire County.

It's apparent that Mr. Patrick, who has long owned a home in Richmond, will easily carry that town and neighboring West Stockbridge in the Massachusetts primary ("Richmond resident a fixture on Berkshire main streets, locals say," Eagle, Nov. 15).

Berkshire residents who have run into the former governor will attest to his approachability and sense of humor. Those qualities make him a natural at retail campaigning, which will be to his advantage in neighboring New Hampshire, the first primary state, where the locals expect to meet the candidates up close and in person.

In an editorial Wednesday ("Patrick rethinks taking the journey"), this page wondered why Mr. Patrick would decide to enter the race at this late date when he ruled out a run last December, in large part because he felt that "the cruelty of the election process" would adversely impact those close to him. While not specifically addressing this concern, Mr. Patrick did tell CNN's Jake Tapper that his wife, Diane, was battling cancer a year ago. He said she is now cancer-free, and her recovery along with the encouragement of many to pursue the presidency, prompted his change of heart. Mr. Patrick's late entry has put him at a disadvantage in the run for campaign dollars and grass-roots endorsements. On the other hand, if he had declared a year ago he may be stuck back in the pack today along with about a dozen other candidates. As a fresh, media-friendly face, the governor has an opportunity to distinguish himself from the pack.

It will be interesting to see what impact Mr. Patrick's four years at Bain Capital, the Boston-based investment firm instrumental in the demise of KB Toys, a Pittsfield-based company with deep Berkshire roots., will have on the race That connection plagued former Massachusetts governor and Bain founder Mitt Romney during his run for president. Mr. Patrick, who resigned as a managing director at Bain on Wednesday, was charged at Bain with finding organizations trying to make a positive social and environmental impact for Bain to invest him. The governor's insistence that it is possible to "do well and do good" may insulate him on Bain but look for corporate-bashing Bay Stater and fellow Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren to make the Bain link an issue.

While Massachusetts is not the birthplace of presidents it is arguably the birthplace of modern presidential candidates. Since the presidency of John F. Kennedy, the last Massachusetts native to reach, the White House, Sens. Henry Cabot Lodge, Edward Kennedy, Paul Tsongas and John Kerry, along with Govs. Michael Dukakis and Romney, all pursued the presidency, with Govs. Dukakis and Romney and Sen. Kerry winning their party's nominations before falling short in the general election. This year, former Republican Gov. William Weld, who is running a quiet campaign for his party's presidential nomination, Mr. Patrick and Sen. Warren all represent Massachusetts in the campaign. The Berkshires will be paying particularly close attention to Mr. Patrick as that campaign unfolds in the coming year.

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