Pataki hangs on to his hat

Former New York Governor George Pataki has decided not to run for president in 2012:

Mr. Pataki, whose flirtations with running for president stretch back more than a decade, canceled a planned trip to Iowa this weekend and will not pursue the Republican nomination, according to news reports on Friday.

Mr. Pataki, 66, who served three terms as governor, from 1995 through 2006, prompted considerable head-scratching this week after signaling that he might declare his candidacy at a Republican picnic in Des Moines on Saturday. On Wednesday, what appeared to be a draft of a campaign Web site was uncovered by The New York Observer, raising expectations further.

Mr. Pataki notched several trips this year to Iowa and New Hampshire, another early voting state, in his capacity as honorary chairman of No American Debt, a group that favors reducing the federal debt and is critical of President Obama.

But he faced long odds at winning the Republican nomination, in part because his moderate stances on some social issues would not likely sit well with many primary voters. Lacking significant fundraising or campaign infrastructure, Mr. Pataki was roundly mocked by political analysts in recent days for his consideration of a run.

Pataki won his first elective office in November 1981, defeating the Democratic incumbent in the mayoral contest in Peekskill, a small city in Northwestern Westchester County. He ran for a seat in the New York State Assembly in November, 1984, defeating a one-term Democratic incumbent with 53 percent of the vote and went on to serve four terms. In 1992, Pataki sought and won election to the New York State Senate, where he served one term before running for Governor. In 1994, he narrowly defeated Mario Cuomo to win the first of the three consecutive four-year terms he served as the Empire State’s governor.

- JP

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