Pataki, a Garrison, Putnam County, resident who has toyed with entering Washington politics in the past, will visit Iowa for a Republican gathering this weekend, fanning the flames that he may announce his intentions.
John McLaughlin, a Rockland County-based GOP consultant and pollster, said there may be room for Pataki in the already crowded Republican primary field.
“With George Pataki, here’s a guy who was mayor of Peekskill and figured out how to become governor of New York,” McLaughlin said. “So I wouldn’t underestimate him if he enters the presidential race.”
Monroe County Republican Chairman Bill Reilich, a town of Greece Assemblyman, was less bullish on Pataki’s prospects. When asked where he sees the former three-term governor fitting into the race, Reilich said: “I don’t know if he does.”
“Certainly, the governor is known in our state and just beyond our borders somewhat, but his national recognition is not as high,” Reilich said. “So I think it would be added work and added effort to play catch-up at this point.”
Rockland County GOP Chair Vincent Reda, the state Republican Party’s vice chairman, said Pataki’s socially moderate views could carve a niche for him in the primary field. The former governor is pro-choice, backed a gay-rights bill during his time as governor, and fought to enact legislation battling greenhouse gases.
“It’s a big field right now, and he would probably be one of the few moderates jumping into the race,” Reda said. “It’s a wide-open field, and there’s room for moderates.”
(AP file photo)