Source: Groff/Ellison Political Report
As the campaign season jumped this year in earnest, many political observers said Harold Ford, Jr., Kenneth Blackwell and Lynn Swann were the big names to watch.
Very few people mentioned Deval Patrick. The former US Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in the Clinton administration was seen as a long shot in his ambitious bid for Governor of Massachusetts.
Running against the current state Attorney General and a big money venture capitalist, Mr. Patrick was an unmistakable under-dog at the time, with heightening odds stacked against him.
But as the campaign stumped through the streets, neighborhoods and towns of the Bay State, something unusual happened. Patrick’s community and opportunity themes resonated heavily with Massachusetts Democrats. and his poll numbers began to rise. By June, signs of Patrick as a serious contender began to surface, with Patrick looking more credible … and much more gubernatorial. He wowed the faithful at his state party’s convention with a speech on “Politics and Hope.”
Riding the wave of what the Boston Globe called the ” … day’s most enthusiastic response” Mr. Patrick secured the top line on the September 19th primary ballot by winning 58% of the vote.
Besides winning the coveted top line at the convention, Mr. Patrick leads most primary polls and mock match-ups with presumptive Republican nominee Lt. Governor Kerry Healey.
In fact, recent polls show Patrick leading Attorney General Thomas Reilly by an average of 9 points, and businessman Chris Gabrieli by over 12 points. In a fall showdown with the Lt. Governor, Patrick leads by an average of 14 points in the last three polls. That 14 point advantage is a tremendous boost to the Patrick campaign, averaging higher than either AG Reilly or Gabrieli leads in potential match ups with Healey. It may also galvanize anti-Republican sentiment in that state.
If the polls prove correct, the big name on November 8th may very well be that of Deval Patrick .