Adrian Walker writes this about the Deval Patrick campaign in today's Boston Globe.
The conventional wisdom is that Patrick started too far behind to make a serious run at Reilly. Too many people -- 80 percent, according to various polls -- still don't know who he is, while Reilly has the reputation, the history with the party regulars (seven years and counting in a high-profile job), and all that cash.I went to a Deval Patrick event at the Newton library last week, and that seems to be true. Many of the people I talked to, or overheard, at that event had never seen Patrick before and came away very impressed by the candidate. What was particularly refreshing, I thought, was that he ran the event more as a conversation than as a campaign stump speech. The bulk of the time was spent on questions to the candidate -- mostly regarding his education policy, and one got the sense that he really enjoyed the back-and-forth.
It's begun to be tempered though, by a growing sense that those who actually see Patrick are enthusiastic about him. The coda to these conversations is always that, fairly or unfairly, there has never seemed to be as much excitement attached to the workmanlike Reilly.
Right now, it seems that Patrick is gaining some support among Democratic activists, which will be important if he's going to get on the ballot in the first place, particularly with the new convention rules. At the Newton event, he was introduced by Rep. Kay Kahn (D-Newton) who announced that she was endorsing him over Attorney General Tom Reilly for governor. These kind of endorsements may not mean much in September, but that's almost too far ahead for the Patrick campaign to be thinking. Their first challenge is to get on the ballot, and to do that they're going to need to get support from the kinds of people that go to nominating conventions. I think he's in good shape in that regard, but once he does get ballot access, it's still a long road to becoming a credible challenger to Reilly.