It frequently happens, as the New Hampshire primary filing deadline nears, that presidential dreamers who had opted out of the race suddenly express interest in making a late go of it.

Few are crazy enough to actually jump in at that point. But, this morning, former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is making the leap.

It looks a little crazy. Maybe a lot crazy. But, it might not be.

The timing, at least, is not a mystery. The last chance to get the ballot for New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary is seen as the last practical moment to get into the race. That quadrennial starting line is this Friday.

The bigger question is how he got to yes, almost a year after announcing that, after very serious exploration, he would not run for President.

That came just a week or two after giving many of his political associates the strong impression that he had decided to run. Publicly, he attributed that decision to his reticence to put spotlight-shy friends through the “cruelty of the process.” Many assume it was really a concession to his unlikely chances of success. Others point to his wife Diane’s bout with uterine cancer.

All were probably factors; none convincingly explain the sudden reversal. Which makes it a bit hard to understand what’s changed to make Patrick ready to go now.

Regardless, he’s getting in, less than three months before the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. He’s entering against a strong field who have been campaigning, fundraising, and building staff for nearly a year. He’s presenting himself to a primary electorate who say they are happy with their existing choices. He must introduce himself after five years on the political sidelines, and will not be included in upcoming televised debates. He has a long list of potential political liabilities, including corporate connections and moderate policies that have gone out of progressive fashion.

Plus, some of his key political team are unavailable, including John Walsh, who is Senator Ed Markey’s campaign manager, and Doug Rubin, who is consulting for Tom Steyer’s political campaign.

So, yes, there are plenty of reasons to question the wisdom of this venture.

But, Patrick’s most appealing political quality has always been optimism. So, let’s look at the sunny side.

1. Iowa could create a Deval-sized hole. It’s a big if, but let’s assume that Joe Biden continues to stumble in Iowa, finishing fourth or lower—leaving his already cash-strapped campaign dead in the water. And, let’s assume the currently floundering campaigns of Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Julian Castro fail to rebound. That likely means the famous “three tickets out of Iowa” likely go to some combination of candidates who figure to face deep resistance in Democratic primaries in large swaths of the country: ultra-progressives Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders; and very white Midwesterners Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar. Patrick would suddenly stand out as the only former governor; the only one with both business and government experience; and the only one with deep roots with minority communities, not only by his race but dating back to running the civil rights division under President Bill Clinton. A strong showing in next-door New Hampshire and first-in-the-South South Carolina, and he could emerge as the uniting force for the party.

2. He has friends in wealthy places. One benefit of a successful career spanning both the corporate and political worlds is that Patrick has a long list of friends who can pitch in a couple grand each. He also has a short list of friends, led by hedge fund billionaire Dan Fireman of Waltham, who can pitch in a couple million each through a Super PAC to handle the advertising. A benefit of entering late is that he only needs to fund a ground operation for a couple of months: if he breaks through in the New Hampshire primary, money will come; if not, he’ll hitch a ride back to his western Massachusetts manse.

3. He’s that good on the stump. It’s very reasonable to ask why Patrick can succeed when terrifically talented pols such as Booker and Harris so far have not. It’s also fair to wonder how an unknown corporate boardroom lawyer managed to become one of only two African-Americans ever elected governor in this country (still to this day), in a state with a relatively small black population and a Democratic party with almost no history to that point of electing minorities or political outsiders. Or, how he got re-elected in the middle of the great-recession fueled anti-Democrat 2010 election after sporting a lowest-in-the-nation approval rating of just 22 percent earlier that year. When he’s on his game, he’s really that good.

4. He’s got nothing to lose. The absolute worst thing that can happen to Patrick is that he spends three months commuting to southern New Hampshire before retiring to his beautiful home and lovely family. He has no grand political ambition, beyond serving as a voice in the Democratic Party—which is probably the primary appeal pulling him into the campaign. It’s not such a bad position to be in. It might even provide him the freedom to be the kind of candidate people are looking for right now.