Category Archives: George Pataki

Pataki On D’Amato


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:

Pataki Campaign Money: Chapter 2

IMG_3174The super PAC is super low on dough.

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.

Continue reading Pataki Campaign Money: Chapter 2

Pataki Campaign Money: Chapter 1

IMG_3174The 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.)

Continue reading Pataki Campaign Money: Chapter 1

A Cat Named Pataki

Pataki the cat. Photo Tina Paquette
Pataki the cat. Photo Tina Paquette

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:

Pataki & No Labels

Pataki - No Labels 6-24-15George 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.

Pataki Punts, Goes Full Brady

Former governor of New York George Pataki doubled down today on Tom Brady and New England, both the team and the region.  Self-proclaimed Jets fan Pataki gave a full-throated defense of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, saying “I don’t think there’s any proof” of Brady wrongdoing in Deflate Gate.  Pataki’s evolution as a Patriots fan began in January, with the New Yorker declaring his support for the hometown Patriots while campaigning in New Hampshire.

We spoke today as Pataki campaigned in Hooksett, New Hampshire.

Pataki Polling Progress

Pataki - Thumbs Up Exeter 5-28-15Is 10th place ever better than 1st place?  It is for George Pataki, as a recent poll showing him in 10th place has far more positives than another recent poll showing him in 1st place.  Both a CNN/ORC national poll and a Quinnipiac University New York poll contain good news for Pataki, but the national poll listing him in 10th place has far more positive news for him.

The CNN national poll lists Pataki as 10th among 16 current or expected contenders.  The field is extremely tightly packed, with Marco Rubio placing first at 14% and eight more candidates jammed in before Pataki appears with 3%.  It’s a pretty low percentage for Pataki, but far better than the “N/A” he received in at least four prior CNN polls that excluded him.  Stretched to it’s most negative for Pataki, the +/- 4.5% margin of error could put him at zero (or even below).  Stretched to its most positive for him, he could be as high as third, behind only Rubio and Bush.  That’s highly unrealistic, but it illustrates the closeness of the field and the lack of certainty in any ranking of the current Republican field.  It is realistic, however, to regard Pataki as in the large pack, albeit toward the rear, but in it nonetheless.

Continue reading Pataki Polling Progress

The President of Peekskill

IMG_2438Presidential candidate George Pataki returned to his hometown of Peekskill for a boisterous reception Sunday.  About 200 people attended a rally at Peekskill’s Lincoln Depot Museum, fondly recalling Pataki’s past elections as mayor, local assembly member and senator as well as governor and proclaiming him “the next president of the United States.”

The rally may not have significant meaning in electoral terms, but the combination of reminiscing and encouragement it provided to the candidate is undoubtedly helpful.  The several New Hampshire campaign appearances of Pataki’s that I’ve attended, including three last Thursday, don’t provide this type of boost.  He’s generally well-received there, but his New Hampshire audiences are mostly paradigmatic New Hampshire primary voters; interested, attentive and perhaps supportive but usually committed to the idea that they are on a long term effort to meet and evaluate multiple candidates.  IMG_2447

Continue reading The President of Peekskill

Pataki Launches Presidential Campaign (Updated)

Pataki Speaking - Side Exeter 5-28-15Former New York governor George Pataki launched his presidential campaign Thursday in Exeter, New Hampshire.  Pataki, who’s been campaigning for months under the guise of a super Pac, joined the growing list of declared Republican candidates with a speech to about 200 supporters in Exeter’s Town Hall.  Abraham Lincoln is among the many politicians previously appearing at the 160 year old Town Hall.

Before an invited audience Pataki spoke of his small town upbringing, his election victories and time as New York governor while castigating “oppressive government.”  Noting that the Republican Party was created (or at least named) in Exeter, Pataki cast it as the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan and as “the party of the middle class” and the party of immigrants.  Or at least the party of immigrants “who come here legally.”  (Pataki’s opening included a few sentences in Spanish.)

With several invocations of September 11th, and despite declaring that America “will not be the world’s policeman,” Pataki pledged “to stand with our ally Israel”, to “stand with our allies in NATO and the free Baltic states” against Russia, to make sure that Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons and to destroy ISIS, using American troops if necessary.  He also included his frequent disclaimer, and seeming indirect condemnation of the Iraq war and it’s aftermath, that he “will not spend $1 trillion or a decade nation building overseas.”Pataki Speaking - Front Exeter 5-28-15

Continue reading Pataki Launches Presidential Campaign (Updated)

President Pataki – An Update

IMG_1944George Pataki.  Eye roll.

George Pataki in New Hampshire.  Eyyye rolll.

George Pataki running for president.  Of the United States.  Eyyyyye rolllll.

You’re not the only one – it’s a common New York reaction as former governor George Pataki moves toward formally announcing his presidential candidacy tomorrow.

Slim chances notwithstanding, he’s been running hard for several months (via a Super PAC) and has done well for himself.  “Done well for himself” doesn’t mean that he’s remotely a leading or even close to leading candidate.  It does mean that he’s succeeded in gaining exposure with local appearances and media, and also with numerous national cable network appearances.  More people have seen or heard Pataki in the past five months than had in the prior eight years, since he left office.  (I’ve covered three of his New Hampshire trips, in January, February and April, and some of my early analyses of his candidacy and reports on his early New Hampshire visits are here and here.)

George Pataki onstage at the New Hampshire Republican Party Leadership Summit.  4/17/15
George Pataki onstage at the New Hampshire Republican Party Leadership Summit. 4/17/15

Continue reading President Pataki – An Update

Pataki At NH Presidential Candidate Summit (Updated)

Former New York Governor George Pataki opened a 19 candidate parade through Nashua, New Hampshire’s Crowne Plaza Hotel this morning, kicking off one of the, if not the, largest gathering of presidential candidates in recent history.  Many of them, Pataki included, are not legally declared candidates, wink wink, but are nonetheless acting as though they are running.

Each candidate is given 30 minutes to speak, determining for themselves how much time to devote to Q&A.  Pataki went further, pushing the lectern aside and placing two stools on stage as he was joined by a New Hampshire radio host who asked questions.  The conversational style worked well for Pataki, allowing him to drop a number of well-received quips and one-liners.  Here’s his full presentation:

Post-Speech Q&A:

Pataki spoke with the press following his speech.

Pataki On Cuomo’s Cuba Trip

Former New York Governor George Pataki politely disagreed with current New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s upcoming trade mission to Cuba, scheduled for Monday.  Pataki was harshly critical of President Obama’s decision to move toward normalizing relations with Cuba, recounting his own experience visiting Cuba.  Pataki tried to avoid directly criticizing Cuomo however, citing Mario Cuomo’s similar stance toward Pataki, but expressly said that he would not have made such a trip if he were in office now.

We spoke at a Pataki campaign appearance in Manchester, New Hampshire.