Patrick, 63, announced his candidacy in a video posted online Thursday, just ahead of a Friday deadline to register for the New Hampshire primary in February.
“This time is about more than removing an unpopular and divisive leader, as important as that is, but about delivering instead for you,” Patrick said. “This won’t be easy and it shouldn’t be. But I’m placing my faith in the people who feel left out and left back who just want a fair shot at a better future.”
Patrick joins a field that includes presumed front-runners former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
“I admire and respect the candidates in the Democratic field,” Patrick said in the video. “But if the character of the candidates is an issue in every election, this time is about the character of the country.”
Like former President Barack Obama, Patrick grew up on the south side of Chicago with his mother and grandmother. He said in his announcement video they lived for a time on welfare.
“We were not poor, just broke,” he said. “Because ‘broke,’ she said, is temporary.”
Patrick said he was the first in his family to attend college, and held jobs in business before he got into government.
“Over the years I’ve seen the path to that [American] dream gradually closing off bit by bit,” he said.
Patrick was at one time considered by some a potential replacement on the U.S. Supreme Court following the 2016 death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. The seat was ultimately filled by Brett Kavanaugh.