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George Pataki, Centrist Former N.Y. Governor, Quits Presidential Race

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George Pataki, Centrist Former N.Y. Governor, Quits Presidential Race


George Pataki, former New York governor, exited the race for the presidency with an announcement Tuesday.

“While tonight is the end of my journey for the White House as I suspend my campaign for president, I’m confident we can elect the right person, someone who will bring us together,” he said.

Boston Globe reporter James Pindell broke the story when he tweeted Tuesday afternoon that the centrist GOP candidate was calling his New Hampshire supporters to alert them of his intention to suspend his campaign.

When Pataki entered the race in May, he emphasized his success as “a Republican governor in a deep blue state,” his dedication to small government, and his desire to bring unity to a divided nation. “What unites us, is so much more important than what might seem superficially to divide us. If we are to flourish as a people we have to fall in love with America again,” he said in his announcement video.

Pataki stood apart from his rivals for the Republican nomination by voicing his support for legal abortion, marriage equality, and federal gun control legislation. However, he did vow to repeal President Obama’s signature health care law.

In Republican debates — where he always appeared on the undercard ticket, if he was invited at all — he stressed the resurgence of post-9/11 New York under his three-term governorship and expressed his exasperation that the majority of GOP candidates refused to acknowledge the science supporting man-made climate change. He took particular aim on his party’s frontrunner, Donald Trump, calling his directive to ban all Muslim immigrants unconstitutional, un-American, and wrong.

Throughout his campaign, Pataki failed to build momentum, fundraise successfully, or build much of an organization — a fact that was highlighted, The Hill notes, when he failed to secure a spot on the ballot in the Virginia primary.

This was the 70-year-old former governor’s first bid for the White House. On Tuesday, his national poll average was an even 0.0.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate George Pataki listens as he is introduced at the No Labels Problem Solver Convention in Manchester, New Hampshire October 12, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

This post has been updated.

Sam Reisman

Sam Reisman is the former managing editor at The National Memo, where he still writes the weekly "This Week In Crazy" column. His writing has appeared in Flavorpill, The Huffington Post, Columbia Daily Spectator, and Bwog. He was the publisher of the 2010 edition of Inside New York, an annual guidebook to the city for students and young professionals.

Since 2011, he has co-curated and hosted Peculiar Streams, a showcase for NYC-based writers, musicians, comedians, and filmmakers. He is a staff writer at Mediaite, and blogs at SamReisman.com.

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  1. Robert Eckert December 30, 2015

    And his withdrawal generates zero comments (until this meta-comment on the absence of comments)

    1. CrankyToo December 30, 2015

      If a tree falls in the forest….

  2. Carolyn1520 December 30, 2015

    It’s unfortunate the most sane or least crazy, in the GOP couldn’t get any traction.
    Then again, it’s their own fault. They let the hijackers in.

  3. oldtack December 30, 2015

    In agreement with Carolyn. He presented the most logical common sense approach to our problems than all the other wannabees combined.

    Be as that may be – I see 2016 as being the bloodiest year in our history. There is an undercurrent of great unrest seething in the mass populace. A populace that have gorged themselves in a feeding frenzy of fear from Government takeover and control to gun confiscation, Jade Helm invasion conspiracies to a total fear of Islam in any form (kill em all mentality)

    . We have a booth at every gun show in west Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico somewhere every week end and I meet people from all stages from good solid citizens to paranoid kooks. We are in a seething cauldron that is ready to explode.

  4. Elliot J. Stamler January 2, 2016

    All of us who are New Yorkers could have told everyone that Gov. Pataki would get nowhere. Gov. Pataki, beyond of course being out of step with his now extremist, fanatical, neo-fascist party, was never very appealing here in NY. He was plucked out of obscurity by the then GOP state Boss, Sen. D’Amato, who quite correctly saw that a large number of voters were just sick and tired of Mario Cuomo and didn’t want him to have a fourth term. Pataki’s win was due not to his popularity but Cuomo’s unpopularity. His next two wins were due to running against weak and underfunded Democrats…State Comptroller McCall and NYC Council Speaker Vallone. The former was a fine man but was black which wasn’t an advantage especially and didn’t raise enough money. The latter was regarded (quite correctly} even by Democrats as an utter hack, a machine conniver with markedly conservative views out of step with most Democrats; Vallone raised even less money than McCall, who, unlike Vallone, was at least personally respected.
    Gov.Pataki coasted through and in his 12 years in office was something of a wraith–he unlike most politicians did NOT covet publicity — often one never even heard of him or what he was doing. This stealth governorship left most people not having any strong opinion about him one way or the other. Certainly without any enthusiasm about him.
    So it is not surprising his presidential candidacy went nowhere.


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