George Pataki drops presidential bid

Posted at 10:12 PM, Dec 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-29 22:12:27-05

WASHINGTON — George Pataki ended his presidential campaign on Tuesday, dropping a bid to capture the Republican nomination that never caught traction with a voter base clamoring for more conservative and anti-establishment candidates.

“While tonight is the end of my journey for the White House as I suspend my campaign for president, I am confident we can elect the right person,” Pataki said in a web video posted on his Twitter and Facebook accounts. “Someone who will bring us together and who understands that politicians, including the president, must be the people’s servant and not their master. I know the best of America is still ahead of us.”

The former New York governor hoped his experience as a three-term chief executive who led the Empire State during the September 11 terrorist attacks would resonate with the Republican Party. But he never broke single digits in polling or qualified for prime-time debates.

He made headlines in May, shortly before he launched his campaign, when he became one of the first potential GOP presidential candidates to call for the U.S. to deploy ground troops to Iraq to fight ISIS.

After Pataki announced his presidential bid, he tried to garner attention in a crowded field by attacking GOP front-runner Donald Trump. His efforts largely went unnoticed, though Trump took to calling Pataki a man who “couldn’t be elected dog catcher” at campaign events.

Meanwhile, a son-in-law’s stroke caused Pataki to temporarily suspend his campaign in its infancy.

His White House bid also was dealt a significant blow when Florida’s secretary of state announced earlier this month that Pataki would not appear on the state’s March 15 primary ballot.

Pataki’s departure from the race leaves 11 candidates seeking the Republican nomination for president.

A CNN/ORC poll released last week found Trump well ahead of the rest of the field, garnering 39% support. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was in second at 18%, with retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tied for third at 10%. Pataki failed to reach 1% in the survey.