Deval Patrick to Campaign for Doug Jones in Alabama

The former governor joins Mitt Romney and Charlie Baker in getting tied to the surprisingly contentious Senate race.

Former Gov. Deval Patrick speaks at a lecturn

Photo via AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Massachusetts is getting awfully involved in the Alabama Senate race.

Next week’s special election between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones is certainly the highest-profile contest in the country right now, but despite the spotlight, the voting rules aren’t going to change: Alabama residents are still the only people who actually get a say in who represents them in Congress.

And yet, three of our Massachusetts governors have found themselves in headlines tied to the election. Breitbart executive chairman Steve Bannon had some choice words for former Gov. Mitt Romney at a Roy Moore rally earlier this week; Gov. Charlie Baker has verbally distanced himself from Moore (who has been credibly accused of pedophilia) but continues to raise money with the RNC, which supports the candidate; and now Gov. Deval Patrick is heading down there to campaign for Jones. Of course, Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren have also weighed-in on the race, but their involvement is to be expected, considering the winner will become their immediate colleague.

In a somewhat rare appearance for our state’s former chief, Patrick is expected to stump for Jones in Alabama this weekend, according to the Washington Post. Patrick, a gifted campaigner, will reportedly join New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Georgia Rep. John Lewis, and other members of Congress to try to engage black voters in the Heart of Dixie.

Though Patrick has stayed under the radar since leaving office, he does have some history in the state of Alabama. Back in 1985, Patrick, then an NAACP Legal Defense Fund lawyer, opposed Jeff Sessions in a voting rights case. Then in January of this year, he urged the Senate Judiciary Committee not to confirm Sessions for attorney general, according to WBUR. Patrick’s pleas, of course, went unheeded, and the winner of the Jones-Moore race will fill the Senate seat Sessions vacated when he joined President Trump’s cabinet.

Of course, it is not uncommon for a party to bring in nationally-known politicians for statewide races. But if you could take a time machine back to November 7, 2016, it would have seemed unbelievable that a special election taking place less than two weeks before Christmas in Alabama—a state that hasn’t voted for a Democrat since Jimmy Carter and where 30 percent more people identify as conservatives than liberals—would pull special guest stars from Massachusetts. But here we are.