In what I think is probably the most surprising request that I got, someone wanted me to do a candidate profile for George Pataki. While I don’t feel Pataki has any shot at winning in the Republican field, he’s certainly a very interesting candidate. He’s one of the sane, moderate Republicans, which is frowned upon apparently. But let’s take a look at him.
Pataki is a relatively unknown to a lot of people, despite being governor of New York during September 11th. He has also served at several other posts in government: mayor of him hometown, the New York State Assembly, the New York State Senate, and then governor. In 2007, he was appointed as the United States delegate to the United Nations General Assembly by then President George Bush. He was also approached about a U.S. Senate bid in 2010, but ultimately declined. An interesting fact about him is that he has never lost an election. That’s something, right?
He’s experienced on a local and state level, and has international connections from his time in the U.N. He served as governor in a fairly liberal state…one of only three Republican governors in New York since 1923 (Thomas Dewey and Nelson Rockefeller being the other two). His first campaign as governor saw him take on and defeat the very popular liberal Mario Cuomo (father of New York’s current governor, Andrew). He’s pretty popular in New York and the northeast, despite being an unknown elsewhere. In a recent GOP poll conducted in New York, he tied with Marco Rubio as the top pick among Republican voters. He consistently worked across the aisle with Democrats while serving as governor, something that SHOULD be considered a good thing, but will probably be frowned upon in the Republican primaries. He also managed to implement big spending cuts and tax cuts across the board. Economically, the guy is solid when it comes to Republican ideas.
He’s virtually unknown in a large part of the country. His two recent campaign stops in Iowa were met by around fifty supporters and a handful of local news reporters. He isn’t going to get the press coverage that bigger name candidates get, which is very unfortunate. He is also pro-choice when it comes to abortion. He supports gay rights (short of marriage), believes in climate change (however he doesn’t support government mandates to combat it), and is a big environmentalist. Finally, he supports giving legal status (not citizenship) to illegal immigrants in this country, saying that attempting to ship 11 million illegal immigrants out of the country is impossible. These are all things that he will certainly get dinged on during the primaries.
Finally, while this really shouldn’t be an issue but will be, he is the oldest Republican candidate, and second oldest of all candidates behind only Bernie Sanders. On Election Day 2016, Pataki would be 71 years old (Clinton if you’re wondering, will be 69). He would be the oldest person ever to take the Oath of Office. He was born a month after V.E. Day, ending World War II.
Potential Vice Presidential Pick
While I personally think Pataki would be much better suited as the #2 on the ticket, especially if there is a conservative nominee (Scott Walker), there are a few guys that would work as his Veep. He would obviously want someone younger, who is also a bit more conservative. Someone who can rally the Republican base to support a moderate Republican candidate. The most obvious names that come to mind are Marco Rubio, Nikki Haley, or Brian Sandoval.
Chances of Winning
Chances of winning the GOP nomination: C- (only because he’s never lost an election)
Chances of winning the general election: C+ (if he survives the GOP primary, he could be a sleeper pick)