Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who launched his Democratic presidential bid last week, canceled a campaign event after only two people showed up.
Patrick arrived at Morehouse College in Atlanta on Wednesday night for a campaign event hosted by New Deal Democrats, according to ABC News. He was told almost no one had shown up for his scheduled talk.
The two who did show up in the audience told ABC they were asked to attend by the event organizers.
Julian Hemmings, the president and founder of the New Deal Democrats, confirmed with Newsweek via email that only two people showed up at the event, adding that the two did not include organizers and members of the press.
According to an earlier campaign announcement, Patrick was expected to meet with student leaders and editorial boards of Atlanta’s student newspapers at 7:45 p.m. on Wednesday, just 75 minutes before the fifth Democratic primary debate began at Tyler Perry Studios, which is not far from Morehouse College.
Hemmings added that Patrick told New Deal Democrats he had to cancel the event because the 63-year-old “had a flight to catch.”
This is not the first time Patrick has had trouble attracting an audience. A photo posted to Twitter by New York Times reporter Jennifer Medina shows a nearly empty auditorium at Patrick’s Nov. 18 campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa.
The former Massachusetts governor added his name to the Democratic primary ballot in New Hampshire on Nov. 14, shortly after former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg signaled his intention to join the 2020 presidential race. Entering the race late, Patrick will have to catch up with the other candidates in terms of building name recognition and raising funds if he hopes to become a front-runner in an already crowded field.
According to a Morning Consult poll updated on Nov. 18, Patrick had “no measurable support” among registered voters who said they may vote in Democratic primaries. He was also found to have have the worst name recognition among all Democratic candidates by far, with 46 percent of surveyed voters saying they didn’t know who he was. The next least recognized candidate, author Marianne Williamson, was still 8 points ahead of Patrick, with 38 percent of surveyed voters saying they had never heard of her.
Moreover, Patrick also had the lowest favorability score, with just 16 percent of voters telling Morning Consult they have a favorable opinion of him.