Massachusetts Democrats, who for months had all but given up hope of holding onto the governor’s office, are now convinced that Deval Patrick’s reelection campaign has come to life, in part because of his reengagement in the political process that he shunned during much of his term.
Add in some legislative successes and proactive moves on Beacon Hill, and Patrick, according to legislators, mayors, and political operatives, is emerging from a dark period that saw pundits and even some of his closest allies writing him off.
The shift could be partly attributable to the evolving dynamic of the three-way gubernatorial race, in which Republican favorite Charles D. Baker and independent Timothy P. Cahill, the state treasurer and a former Democrat, are battling to position themselves as Patrick’s major rival.
His fund-raising has picked up. He is repeatedly showing up in far-flung corners of the state, cutting ribbons, pressing the flesh, huddling with local officials, and giving out grants. In a sign of his political confidence, he even made a forceful appearance last week on the radio show of Howie Carr, a loud, persistent critic of the governor’s.
At the same time, Patrick has used his perch as governor to push his priorities at the State House. He successfully pushed for an overhaul to education laws earlier this year.
Patrick has also used his power to limit health insurance rate increases. Major national bond rating agencies have praised Patrick and the Democratic Legislature for their handling of the state’s fiscal crisis.