Former Governor Pataki to Announce Presidential Bid on Thursday

Goerge PatakiIgnoring the polls and pundits, former New York Gov. George Pataki plans to announce Thursday that he’s joining the crowded Republican field for president.

The three-term governor will unveil his candidacy in Exeter, N.H. which claims the birthplace of the Republican Party and join a group of contenders who are inching toward the 20 mark.

Skeptics abound about Pataki’s chances.

He doesn’t register on national polls and has been out of elected office for nearly a decade.

“I just don’t see where he could win,” GOP consultant Ed Rollins told The Post. “I’m not sure he could win in New York anymore.”

But Pataki says he’s undeterred by the odds.

“It will be a very stiff climb up a very steep mountain, but that hasn’t stopped me in the past,” Pataki said in an interview.

Pataki is putting most of his chips on a strong showing in New Hampshire,  a state he’s visited more than any other presidential contender.

The first-in-the-nation primary is a key test for the conservative Republican field and is open to the large contingent of independent voters who could favor a moderate like Pataki, who is pro-choice and has a record of tightening gun laws and environmental protections.

“I’m a Republican following in the tradition of Teddy Roosevelt who understands that conservatism isn’t just economic policy but it’s also preserving and enhancing the outdoors,” Pataki said, arguing that decisions like marriage, gun rights and education should be left up to the states.

Pataki’s super PAC has run ads in New Hampshire. He’s met with longtime donors in New York and Florida about his presidential hopes. And he got a nudge to run from the Republican county chairs in New York City last week.

Pataki believes he can succeed with retail politics and so does one supporter, Alissa Tweedie, a 35-year-old Navy veteran from New Hampshire.

“The more time the governor spends here, the better he is doing,” said Tweedie, who likes Pataki’s record on charter schools, national security and leadership.

“He meets with groups of any size without any pretenses,  no scripting here. I think many have underestimated him and I think that’s just where he wants to be.”

Pataki will have an uphill climb to make the national stage. For the first GOP debate Aug. 6, Fox News will only accept the top 10 candidates based on polling and Pataki isn’t even registering on national polls. One New Hampshire poll this month didn’t even include him as an option.

“Right now, Governor Pataki is on everyone’s list of also-rans. That’s remarkable to say about a three-term governor of New York who was a prominent part of 9/11, but it’s true,” said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

 

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