That haul comes as a super PAC is slated to spend at least $2 million on ads supporting Patrick in New Hampshire, a state central to his strategy. Patrick enters the new year with $1 million in the bank, according to his campaign, and is set to headline a host of top dollar fundraiser to add to that, including an event hosted by Marty Nesbitt, an American businessman and Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign treasurer.
The primary is an uphill battle for Patrick — something not lost on the former governor who has yet to make a debate stage and is largely not registering in early state polls despite repeated visits to New Hampshire and South Carolina.
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. “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 scrapped plans to run for president in early 2019 because his wife, Diane, was diagnosed with cancer. The former governor decided in November to jump into the already-crowded race after his wife, who will hit the trail for her husband in the coming weeks, was found to be cancer free.
His decision to run in November, though, means Patrick faces a shortened timeline, and his campaign looks more like operations that were prevalent in early 2019 — roughly 70 staffers and offices in New Hampshire and South Carolina — not the behemoth operations he is now trying to overtake.
It’s seemingly because of those challenges that Patrick is welcoming Reason to Believe PAC, a super PAC made up of supporters who are committed to spent at least $2 million on ads in New Hampshire.
The first ad introduces Patrick to New Hampshire voters, focusing on his upbringing in Chicago, his role in fighting for civil rights and his time as governor of neighboring Massachusetts.
Despite supporting overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that allowed the proliferation of super PACs, Patrick told CNN that he welcomes the help.
“As long as it is positive and transparent, I welcome that help,” Patrick said. “We are going to play by the rules, and this is within the rules.”
Patrick’s ties to President Barack Obama — the two were friends before either were top Democrats — were touted when he launched his campaign and Patrick has enjoyed the support of former Obama administration officials.
But Obama hasn’t offered any public word of affirmation for Patrick. The former governor told CNN that the two haven’t spoken since he launched his campaign.
Patrick, looking at the last two months, said he wouldn’t do anything differently and wouldn’t have gotten in if he didn’t think he could beat his “friends” who are running.
“I don’t spend my time regretting what might have been,” he said. “I respect their work and respect what they have been doing … but I wouldn’t have gotten in when I did if I didn’t think there was a chance that we, as a nation, would miss this moment and there was a lane for me.”
Even still, it’s difficult for analysts and Democrats in New Hampshire and South Carolina to see a path for Patrick, given how a number of other candidates have spent months building far more fulsome operations in the states.
Patrick has spent considerable time in each state since launching his campaign and some believe that voters are starting to gain interest in him. But the key question remains: Is there enough time for Patrick?
“You can’t ask anyone as competitive as I am to be trying to do anything but win,” Patrick said when asked what success looks like in New Hampshire and South Carolina. “I am not in the race to, as they say, have a voice or to position myself for some other office at some other time. I am running to be president.”
Patrick then put it bluntly: “I am trying to win New Hampshire and South Carolina. We are building up to that.”