Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick speaks during an interview at his Statehouse office in Boston, Dec. 15, 2014. Credit: Elise Amendola | AP

Former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick said Thursday he will not make a 2020 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination despite what he characterized as “advice and encouragement from people all over the country.”

“After a lot of conversation, reflection and prayer, I’ve decided that a 2020 campaign for president is not for me,” Patrick, said in a statement on Facebook that confirmed a decision he had shared with friends in recent days.

Patrick’s decision comes amid maneuvering by dozens of Democrats seeking to shore up support in what is expected to be a crowded field of contenders from their party.

Patrick, a two-term governor, returned to the private sector as a managing director for Bain Capital after leaving office in January 2015. But in recent months, he had been traveling the country and otherwise positioning himself for a potential White House bid. That included a meeting earlier this year with former president Barack Obama, who has provided counsel to several prospective candidates.

In his statement, Patrick, 62, cited the “cruelty” of White House campaigns as a factor in his decision and referenced his wife.

“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,” he said.

Patrick got a taste of the kind of scrutiny he would face this week in a HuffPost article that examined his relationship with a wealthy Republican subprime mortgage lender whom the piece alleged “ripped off the black middle class.”

In his statement, Patrick recounted meeting voters in many states as he campaigned with congressional candidates this year.

“Democrats have a clear chance not just to win their votes but to win their respect and earn their help by showing up everywhere, engaging everyone, and making our case,” Patrick said. “I hope to help in whatever way I can. It just won’t be as a candidate for president.”