The endorsement is unusual, as the Democratic primary does not take place until September 6. Warren’s opponent in the primary, Marisa DeFranco, said she was “disappointed that he chose to do this before the primary.”
Patrick could not contain his excitement for Warren, however, saying in a press conference Wednesday that “Elizabeth Warren is my friend and I believe she should be the next U.S. Senator from Massachusetts.”
Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown has criticized Warren for avoiding debates with DeFranco, contrasting her behavior with his own during the 2010 Republican Senate primary, saying, “We had debates.” DeFranco wants to have at least four debates with Warren before the September primary.
Warren, a Harvard law professor, has been treated as the presumptive Democratic nominee since she entered the race. Patrick’s endorsement is sure to reinforce the perception that Warren will win the primary.
Despite her front-runner status, Warren has received breathless coverage for dubious past claims to be an American Indian minority.
Warren has denied that she claimed to be a minority to gain an unfair advantage early in her career, and has said that she is in fact 1/32 Cherokee — a claim that cannot be verified by genealogists.