Governor Deval Patrick kicked off his re-election for governor officially last weekend – a long and winding road through 20 cities and towns which found him, at one point, at the Blue Ox Restaurant on Oxford Street.
Exiting from a campaign bus and entering the packed eatery, Patrick and Lt. Governor Tim Murray wowed the crowd.
The governor showed his ability to connect with those surrounding him with his deeply personal style of campaigning.
“Are you fired up?” he asked everyone who had come to his kick-off.
“I know I am,” he seemed to say.
Patrick’s stop in Lynn was a duplicate of repeated stops he has recently made in Revere, Chelsea and East Boston, where his ability to wow a crowd has not gone unnoticed by those journalists and media mavens who have been saying the governor cannot win re-election.
The governor has been fighting extremely low favorability rating figures.
In recent weeks, his heavy campaign schedule and his persuasive ability with smaller crowds, has given him a bit of a jump.
His unfavorability has been decreasing with voters – and as he gets around – how people view him seems to be changing.
It is already changing in the Boston Globe and even in the Herald, where writers at both papers believe his campaigning effort has been resurrecting him as a bonafide candidate for re-election whose chance should not be counted out.
What he showed at the Blue Ox Sunday evening is what Patrick does best – that is – he connects with people.
He looks them in the eye.
He reaches out.
When he leaves, those who were around him are all favorably impressed.
Up close, the governor is suave.
He is intelligent.
He is extremely well-spoken.
And he seems to be paying close attention to those around him.
When such behavior is replicated more than 20 times in a day, it is the stuff of a game changer.
Counting out the governor in a close race would be poor handicapping, the experts believe.
The last Rasmussen poll showed Patrick’s unfavorability declining while the percentage of those who would vote for him remained at 35%.
With Patrick off and running hard, the campaigns of Tim Cahill and Charlie Baker need to rev up. Cahill’s figures rose by four points in the last poll. Baker’s declined by 5 points with both candidates having 28% and 23% of the vote respectively.
This could be the first governor’s race in modern memory when a seated governor won 35% of the vote and still won the election.