Former New York Gov. George Pataki suspended his bid for the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday, after a campaign that appeared doomed almost from the start by both his long stretch out of the national spotlight and the mismatch between his moderate politics and a party turning harder to the right.
"I can confirm the Governor is out," said New Hampshire State Sen. John Reagan, one of Pataki's highest-profile endorsers. "I still believe he is the best man for the job."
Pataki, 70, had once been an impressive figure in Republican politics: He'd upset a Democratic legend, then-New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, in 1994, and won reelection twice in a famously liberal state. Pataki had flirted with a presidential run three times before, in 2000, 2008, and 2012. But each time, he withdrew.
Then this year, he actually ran. "I'm ready. I know that the need to change Washington is as big as been in my lifetime. I know the need to have a vision for the future of this country is absolutely essential. I have that vision. My life has prepared me for this moment," he told the Washington Post and NH1 when he announced his candidacy May 28.
But, as it turned out, his moment had already passed. Pataki has not held office since 2006, and his name recognition had eroded sharply since then; when Jeopardy contestants were shown his picture earlier this year, none of them could supply his name.