Former New York governor and 2016 Republican presidential candidate George Pataki expressed significant reservations about presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump Tuesday night, saying that he does not endorse Trump and that he’s “still up in the air” on whether he’ll vote for Trump. Pataki was among the earliest Republican critics of Trump, condemning some of Trump’s comments in August 2015 as the two campaigned for the Republican presidential nomination. (After his own presidential campaign ended Pataki endorsed Marco Rubio and, after Rubio dropped out, John Kasich.)
During an appearance at the Metropolitan Republican Club on Manhattan’s Upper East Side Pataki described himself as a “loyal Republican” who wants to support the party’s nominee. Condemning Trump’s “demoniz[ation] of ethnic groups out of stupidity”, Pataki said that he will not “blindly support” Trump in the absence of a coherent political philosophy. Pataki added that he hopes to see such a coherent philosophy and that he could support Trump should that occur. When I asked Pataki afterwards why, after nearly a year of Trump campaigning, he thought it possible that Trump would change his approach Pataki replied “I have hope” rather than an expectation of that happening.
Here’s a clip of Pataki during an audience Q&A and in a brief conversation with me afterwards:
It’s over. To mark the end of George Pataki’s presidential campaign we’ve prepared a photo retrospective of his New Hampshire campaign. Pataki focused on New Hampshire and we covered his efforts there extensively. (Our coverage can be found here.)
Republican presidential candidate George Pataki’s most recent New Hampshire campaign swing was overwhelmingly focused on the San Bernardino attack and ISIS. I joined two of his three open press events Friday; a visit to a retirement community in Lebanon, New Hampshire and an appearance at a Chesire County Republican Committee holiday party.
Pataki devoted most of his remarks at both events to the San Bernardino attack and ISIS, and most of the dozen or so questions posed to him focused on the same topics.
Pataki’s first stop was Quail Hollow, a booming retirement community just north of the center of Lebanon which is itself right in the middle of New Hampshire. Pataki’s early evening visit to the dining room had the potential for catastrophe, as interrupting dinner can be a hazardous move for a politician. As he walked around greeting the 35 or so residents seated for dinner Pataki quipped “escape now if you don’t want to hear me talk.” A woman responded “we’ll listen to you, we’ll give you a chance.” They did, listening closely and engaging with Pataki, albeit after another woman bellowed “Quiet!” as residents talked over Pataki initially. He wisely warmed up the crowd by announcing that his mother’s 100th birthday is today (Monday).
“Happy Whatever to all of you. No Happy Holidays.” That was George Pataki’s mangled attempt at fighting against the War on Christmas Friday evening. Pataki began his remarks to a group of New Hampshire Republicans by criticizing generic holiday greetings, saying that “I refuse to” refer to his firm’s December party as a “holiday party”.
Seemingly unaware of the contradiction, Pataki closed his remarks by saying “have a wonderful, wonderful holiday.” The event he spoke at? It was the Chesire County, New Hampshire Republicans “Holiday Gathering.”
Former New York governor and largely unknown 2016 Republican presidential candidate George Pataki has remarkably high unfavorable ratings. He barely registers in polling on who voters support, garnering 1% on good days, yet has extremely high negative ratings. A Public Policy Polling survey released last Thursday reported that 16% of New Hampshire Republican primary voters view Pataki favorably while 45% view him unfavorably. Pataki has received such skewed views since summer. For example, a University of New Hampshire/WMUR poll released August 3rd reported a favorable rating from 18% of those polled, but an unfavorable rating from 43%.
Such high unfavorables are remarkable considering the lack of voter attention he’s received. His campaign is virtually broke, unable to afford advertising, and the modest crowds he draws while campaigning don’t appear particularly hostile.
George Pataki’s presidential campaign’s newly filed financial report shows that it’s insolvent as of September 30th, with cash on hand of $13,570 and an outstanding loan from Pataki of $20,000. It’s a shockingly low balance, requiring a strong imagination to believe that Pataki’s campaign can continue.
Pataki has struggled for money throughout his longshot campaign, raising a total of $389,000 (plus his $20,000 loan). His most recent quarterly results are anemic, with $133,000 raised from July 1st through September 30th. (Our look at his first filing is here, and our look at his super PAC’s initial filing is here.) A campaign, even a barebones campaign, can’t survive with so little money. Pataki’s campaign spent only $100,000 in September, but even that modest amount is unsustainable absent a substantial increase in cash. As noted above, Pataki put in $20,000 of his own money in the last quarter and additional self-funding appears to be the only viable route for Pataki.
George Pataki returned yet again to New Hampshire Thursday and Friday, working to keep his presidential campaign alive. Campaigning in New Hampshire since January, his candidacy has yet to catch on and he faces a difficult path to remaining in the race, much less moving up substantially in the crowded field.
He’s genial and eager to talk, but draws small audiences. In appearances on Thursday he received a polite and inquisitive reception at a presentation organized by the Derry Chamber of Commerce and had a pleasant time talking with a smattering of afternoon shoppers at a farmers market in Manchester. His staff cancelled a late afternoon walk around downtown Concord, however. (He also held a candidate meet and greet in Salem, which I did not attend.)
George Pataki continued his condemnation of Donald Trump today, launching into criticism during a campaign appearance in Derry, New Hampshire. Speaking to an audience of about 30 people, Pataki’s comments drew applause.
Pataki has repeatedly criticized Trump in recent days, appearing on cable networks and managing to instigate a Twitter spat between himself and Trump. During Pataki’s gubernatorial years he and Trump were allies, or at least peaceful co-existors, but that’s changed as the two run against each other. With Trump at the top of the polls and Pataki near the bottom, Pataki has sought to distinguish himself from the rest of the Republican field with vigorous attacks on Trump.
That was George Pataki’s response to news that former senator Al D’Amato, his longtime political friend and patron, endorsed rival presidential candidate John Kasich. It was D’Amato who in 1994 proposed Pataki as a possible gubernatorial candidate, launching the then-obscure state senator on the path to defeating the seemingly invincible Mario Cuomo and his own three terms as governor.
An inside player working as a lobbyist and long out of office, D’Amato is not exactly a big-ticket endorsement but it must nonetheless sting for Pataki. Kasich got some press attention from the endorsement and it added to the sense of Kasich gaining momentum. Kasich and Carly Fiorina have filled the space that Pataki seeks, the back-of-the pack candidate on an upward spiral of interest, attention and support, and each positive moment for them reduces the already limited prospect of Pataki going on a similar rise.
We asked Pataki about that endorsement today at a campaign event in Derry, New Hampshire. Here’s what he had to say:
We The People, Not Washington, the super PAC supporting George Pataki’s presidential bid, reports having $67,000 on hand as of June 30th. In comparison, Jeb Bush’s super PAC reported raising $103 million and having $97 million on hand.
We The People managed to raise about $859,000, but spent most of it. As we’ve reported in detail, Pataki’s presidential campaign committee reported cash on hand of $207,000 as of June 30th. Absent a marked increase in contributions to either or both of the super PAC and campaign committee Pataki’s longshot bid may not survive the summer.
Although Pataki was initially involved with the super PAC, like all presidential candidates he’s prohibited from “coordinating” with the super PAC(s) supporting him after his legal declaration of candidacy in early June.
We The People‘s contributor list is laden with longtime Pataki supporters. That’s a natural base to start with and important to have, but it doesn’t appear deep enough to support Pataki’s candidacy into winter and spring 2016. Topping the contributor list at $75,000 each are Earle Mack and John Catsimatidis’ company United Refining Company. Mack is a real estate developer with a long Pataki relationship. Catsimatidis has also long supported Pataki and received Pataki’s support during his 2013 mayoral campaign.
The good news for George Pataki – his presidential campaign reports having over 80% of the money it’s raised still on hand, spending less than 20%. The bad news for George Pataki – the amount on hand totals just over $200,000.
In his initial campaign finance report the former New York governor reported raising $255,000 and spending $48,000. This filing covers the 2nd quarter of 2015, April 1 to June 30th. Pataki’s campaign committee was created on May 19th, just ahead of his May 28th formal announcement in Exeter, New Hampshire and his June 2nd FEC “Statement of Candidacy”, so it’s a shortened time period of actual fundraising.
The amount raised by Pataki’s campaign is meager, able to fund some low-cost trips to New Hampshire and Iowa, but not nearly enough to truly compete. There’s a significant known unknown, however. Pataki created a super PAC in early January and that super PAC, “We The People, Not Washington”, has yet to file its initial report. Super PACs may raise unlimited amounts, with no contribution limits, so a small number of (or even a single) wealthy and willing contributors can provide substantial funding for a presidential bid. Pataki’s financial outlook could be dramatically different, depending on his super PAC’s results. (Stay tuned – we’ll update you on the super PAC filing as soon as its available.)
Not a jazz playing, beret wearing George Pataki, but an actual feline.
During a campaign stop Wednesday in Hooksett, New Hampshire George Pataki got the news. A woman participating in a small group discussion with Pataki (the human) mentioned that she named her cat “Pataki.” Here’s what happened, with some post-roundtable information from Tina Paquette, Pataki’s (the cat) proud owner:
George Pataki received a surprise boost this week from former Utah governor Jon Huntsman and former senator from Connecticut Joe Lieberman, with the two leaders of “No Labels” penning a laudatory op-ed. No Labels casts itself as seeking to eliminate the “hyper-partisan viewpoint” in the federal government, with a goal of having the president and Congress “working together to achieve mutually agreed-upon goals that will solve the nation’s problems.”
It was welcome news for Pataki, who varies between running to the right and center, encouraging his emerging theme as a “moderate Republican”. With an enormously crowded Republican field filled with more conservative candidates, any conceivable available space for Pataki lies to the left of that conservative and ultra conservative pack.
Groups of about ten No Labels canvassers clad in bright lime-green t-shirts appeared at two Pataki campaign events in New Hampshire Wednesday. At a seaside picnic in New Castle their appearance startled the Pataki folks setting up the picnic, with Team Pataki initially concerned they were there to protest against Pataki. The friendly nature of the visit was quickly established, however, and the No Labels group joined the picnic. (They declined to answer a question of whether they are volunteers or paid staff.) A separate No Labels group attended a Pataki event in Hooksett, and Pataki briefly discussed the group and the Huntsman/Lieberman op-ed.
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