Washington: George Pataki, who was governor of New York during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, announced Tuesday he is ending his presidential bid.
Pataki, a moderate Republican, was running a longshot campaign from the start, and his candidacy failed to take off in a crowded Republican field dominated by the bluster of billionaire Donald Trump and dragged to the conservative right in the primary race.
“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,” Pataki said in an online video message that struck an optimistic, uplifting tone.
“If we`re truly going to make America great again, we need to elect a president who will do three things: confront and defeat radical Islam, shrink the size and power of Washington, and unite us again in our belief in this great country.”
Two Pataki supporters told The Boston Globe that they spoke with the former governor and were disappointed in his decision, but not surprised.
Pataki, age 70 and out of public office for nearly a decade, failed to win over sufficient support among the party`s establishment, who gravitated toward better known candidates including former Florida governor Jeb Bush and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Amid the push rightward, Pataki stood out like a sore thumb among Republicans. He criticized those in his party who question or deny a human role in climate change, and he supports abortion rights, which is a non-starter for many conservatives.
Even in early-voting New Hampshire, a state where he invested most of his time and resources, Pataki barely resonated, usually polling at less then one percent support.
The first state-wide vote in the nominating process is February 1 in Iowa. New Hampshire votes eight days later.
With Pataki`s departure, and fellow low-poller Senator Lindsey Graham dropping out last week, the Republican field has narrowed to 12 candidates.