I've opined this week that former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick was right not to pursue the Democrat nomination for president in 2020 because I didn't feel as though he had the fire in his belly. I also believe that Patrick was not a good governor, and would not be a good president. All of that remains true.

In announcing that he would take a pass on 2020, Patrick revealed a glimpse of himself that is seldom seen at least by people like me in the media. Patrick displayed a selflessness that is rare these days in politics. He put others, his loved ones, ahead of his own ambitions, and I have to admire him for that.

In posting his decision on social media, Patrick cited the "cruelty of our elections process" as his main reason for bowing out. Patrick said he'd received a lot of encouragement to get into the race, but he also said "knowing that the cruelty of our elections process would ultimately splash back on people whom Diane and I love, but who hadn’t signed up for the journey, was more than I could ask."

Patrick's wife Diane has dealt with issues of depression, and in fact, was hospitalized early in Patrick's first term. He considered resigning as a result. The Patricks' daughter is married to a same-sex partner, and Patrick's brother-in-law was indicted earlier this year on charges of kidnapping, assault and rape.

None of the above should matter to voters, but it would all become headlines and ultimately issues for Patrick and his loved ones to cope with.

Patrick may be walking away from his last, best chance at realizing his dream. But he is doing so for the right reasons. You've got to respect a guy who puts family first.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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