George Pataki: Contrary to all indicators, I'm in this to win it

It wasn’t long ago (and by “not long” I mean a matter of hours) when Carly Fiorina failed to declare that she was in the race for the GOP nomination, but said that she was 90% sure she was going to. In terms of the Ted Cruz announcement, I suppose this could be termed an announcement of a high probability of announcing. But never one to be outdone, former New York Governor George Pataki followed suit.

George Pataki, the former three-term New York governor, has a tip for gamblers: Place your chips on his running for president.

Pataki has traveled to New Hampshire six times since September and two weeks ago appeared at the Republican National Committee’s donor retreat in Boca Raton, Florida. In an interview with Rita Cosby on WABC in New York, Pataki said he’ll probably run, suggesting that the only hold ups are campaign-finance laws that would limit his fundraising once he formally declares…

“If I were a betting person, I would bet that I’d make the decision to go,” Pataki said.

Just to clear the full disclosure requirements (again) I’ve done some campaign stops with Governor Pataki, including help he gave to a campaign I was working in 2010, and gotten to know him fairly well. He’s a good man and he served New York well. There have also been repeating rumors about his wanting to make a presidential run for some time now. This time he’s sounding a bit more serious.

“I know we need to change the direction of this country and in particular, our government,” he said. “I know I have the ability to not just lead a big, complex government, but to change it as I did in New York, so I’m seriously looking at it.”

“If you care about the country,” he added, “it’s very hard to sit on the sideline if you believe you have the ability to run a government, like this country’s government, well.”

I still have to wonder how well he will fare in a crowded field such as we’re seeing for 2016. For starters, the RCP average isn’t even polling him at this point. His fundraising ability inside of New York is still solid, but on the national level he faces a lot of competition. The admission that one of the reasons he’s holding off on an official announcement has to do with the big dollar donors indicates that he’s not gotten out to the kind of early money lead that some of the poll leaders have managed. Beyond that, he’s got the entire New York RINO thing to deal with, not least of which includes having a bad record on gun control. It’s a requirement to advance to the top in the Empire State, but doesn’t serve him well with the base across the rest of the country in the current climate.

But with all that said, I wouldn’t mind seeing him on the debate stage. He handled the budget issues of an out of control state like New York very well during his tenure and managed to get some substantial things done while dealing with the Democrat machine here. Pataki hasn’t really been grilled by the press on most of the top issues facing the country today and it would be worth hearing what he has to say. So good luck, Governor! And if you throw your hat into the ring we’ll be happy to interview you here.