Deval Patrick's campaign vents frustration at likelihood of being left off Michigan ballot
Posted December 11, 2019 1:16 p.m. EST
CNN — Democratic presidential candidate Deval Patrick's campaign is expressing frustration that the former Massachusetts governor will not be listed on Michigan's Democratic primary ballot, while former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who announced his presidential candidacy around the same time as Patrick last month, will be included.
"Despite the fact that Governor Patrick declared his candidacy before Michael Bloomberg, the Governor isn't being given the same opportunity to compete and will not be on the ballot as a candidate for President on Michigan's primary Election Day in 2020 unless our campaign collects an onerous number of signatures by Friday -- a barrier no other candidate has had to overcome," Patrick campaign manager Abe Rakov said.
But a state party source tells CNN that Patrick will not be listed for a simple reason: His campaign didn't ask. The unforced error reflects the unseen logistical challenges of mounting a last-minute presidential campaign and building an organization on the fly.
"Any candidate who wanted to be included on that list could have contacted the Party," the Michigan Democratic source said. "We were in contact with the candidates included on the list. The candidates have to request being on the list, and he (Patrick) did not."
A Patrick campaign aide confirmed that they did not ask the Michigan Democratic Party to be listed, because they "believed we had to be in news coverage by (Nov. 12) to make the party's list." The first stories about Patrick's impending presidential campaign appeared in national press Nov. 11.
"We don't just go by media," the Michigan Democratic source said.
The Michigan Department of State, which was required to submit its own list of candidates for the state's Democratic presidential primary ballot by Nov. 8, did consider media coverage in deciding what candidates to include. But that was before word of Patrick's candidacy had begun to leak to the media.
"At the time this department was required by state law to issue a list of individuals 'generally advocated by the national news media to be potential presidential candidates' -- the deadline was 4 p.m. November 8 -- Michael Bloomberg was generally advocated by the national news media to be a potential presidential candidate and Deval Patrick was not," said Michael Doyle, communications manager for the Michigan Department of State. "National media mentions of Deval Patrick as a potential presidential candidate did not occur until after Michigan presidential primary list had been issued."
Even if Patrick did not make the Department of State's deadline, he could have been included on the state party's list, which takes precedence. But Patrick also did not make that list -- because his campaign hadn't requested his name be added.
Patrick is "still free to submit required number of signatures" to appear on the state's presidential primary ballot, the state party source said. Patrick's campaign suggested they are unlikely to meet the Friday deadline, however, having collected only around 8,000 signatures of the 11,345 required.
"We are calling on the Michigan Democratic Party to amend its list of candidates and ask the Michigan Secretary of State to put Governor Deval Patrick on the ballot so that voters can rightly select from their full range of choices for President in 2020," Rakov said.
Michigan's Democratic primary will be held on March 10.