George Pataki ended his campaign bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination on December 29, 2015 with a web video posted on his Twitter and Facebook accounts. "While tonight is the end of my journey for the White House as I suspend my campaign for president, I am confident we can elect the right person. Someone who will bring us together and who understands that politicians, including the president, must be the people's servant and not their master. I know the best of America is still ahead of us."|
George Elmer Pataki was born in Peekskill, New York, the younger of two sons. He received a scholarship from the prestigious Yale University in 1964, attending classes there at the same time as now former President George W Bush. He completed a four-year degree after only three years, and went on to study at and graduate from Columbia Law School.
While practicing law, Pataki gravitated towards politics, eventually winning election for Mayor of his hometown of Peekskill, as well as seats on the New York State Assembly and New York State Senate. His crowning political achievement to date, however, was the New York gubernatorial election of 1994, when he defeated incumbent Mario Cuomo to become Governor of New York State. During the '94 campaign, Pataki criticized Cuomo for having served three terms already as Governor and now seeking a fourth, pledging that he himself would serve only two terms if elected. Pataki left office in 2006, after completing his third term.
A solid fiscal conservative, George Pataki signed and sponsored several tax cuts while in office, and proposed various budgets which called for the privatization of state entities and for other budget reductions. He even stuck to his guns during the early 2000's, when a recession-stricken economy caused tax revenues and languish, his support for maintaining lean fiscal policy resting on the argument that new taxes would harm business and cost jobs, exacerbating existing problems.
Nevertheless, Pataki has drawn the ire of many conservatives in his party for some of his positions on social issues. He remains pro-choice on the issue of abortion, despite having been pressured by his allies on the matter, and he fought stringently for the passing of a gay rights bill that had erstwhile failed to see progress in the state legislature due to prominent opposition. Pataki was able to make the resistance back down, and signed the bill into law, again to the displeasure of conservative Republicans.
It is due to these troublesome social views that Pataki's nomination to the GOP ticket for 2016 would expose the party to the same danger that was created by other left-leaning Republican candidates, including John McCain and Mitt Romney. Conservative elements balked at these nods, leading in many ways to the empowerment of the Tea Party and a rising danger of the potential disaster of a Republican fracture. With a distinguished political career behind him, George Pataki brings much to the table in any discussion of a potential presidential candidate, but it remains to be seen whether Republicans have the appetite for further internal tension.