Former New York Governor George Pataki is exploring a bid for the Republican presidential nomination for 2016 — having recently visited two key early primary states, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
"Right now, [Mr. Pataki’s] been focused on what he sees going wrong on a national level," his spokesman, David Catalfamo, told The New York Observer
. Pataki, 69, left office in 2006.
"He believes the party needs to energize and focus on those core issues," Catalfamo said. "Fundamental change in the ways that Washington has encroached into the lives of Americans.
"Point is that he [Pataki] would make is that he has a record of doing it. He has a record of reducing the size of government — reduced the size of the workforce, reduced taxes, reduced red tape."
Pataki could be joining a huge field of potential GOP candidates: 2012 candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Marco Rubio of Florida; Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Scott Walker of Wisconsin; and retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
"The field, as it stands now, is both strong and large," the Observer said in its report, "and that is why a Pataki candidacy is not as much of a longshot as it sounds."
The former governor's chances are best within a large group of candidates, "where every faction — the moderates, the religious fundamentalists, the foreign policy hawks and others are divided," the Observer said.
To be most effective, Pataki needs to pitch himself to voters "as an electable candidate, who won state-wide office three times in a liberal state," according to the report. He is a "northern moderate who has survived in the country’s toughest media market and won three elections in a relatively deep blue state."
However, Bush could take the "moderate" attribute from Pataki, the Observer said. The Florida Republican is expected to announce his decision early next year.
And while Pataki has been out of the political limelight for nearly a decade, Catalfamo doesn't think that would be an obstacle to a successful campaign.
"Governor Pataki’s a proven fundraiser … known in the donor class as someone who knows how to run campaigns and articulate a message," he told the Observer. "He has a track record as one of the most prolific fundraisers as a governor in American history.
"He has the experience and the wherewithal to put together an effective campaign," Catalfamo added. "Folks would believe he could do it again."
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