Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is officially joining the 2020 Democratic presidential race less than three months before voters start casting ballots, reports multiple news sources. “I admire and respect the candidates in the Democratic field.

They bring a richness of ideas and experiences and depth of character that makes me proud to be a Democrat. But if the character of the candidates is an issue in every election, this time is about the character of the country,” Patrick, who is Black, said in an video released online Thursday morning. His message was largely about unity and the need to build a “better, more sustainable, more inclusive American dream for the next generation,” which in this crowded field is not unique.

It sounds remarkably akin to themes New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg have highlighted throughout their campaigns. But there is a theory that Patrick could string together a path to the nomination through his neighboring state New Hampshire and then South Carolina, the first Southern state to vote with a sizable African American electorate.