Former NY Gov. George Pataki announces he will end 2016 GOP presidential bid

Former New York Gov. George Pataki announced late Tuesday he is suspending his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination

"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," Pataki said in a video announcing his decision. "I know the best of America is still ahead of us."


Pataki, who led New York through the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, failed to gain traction in a crowded field of candidates during an election season that has so far favored outsiders like billionaire businessman Donald Trump.

"If we're truly going to make America great again, we need to elect a president who will do three things: Confront and defeat radical Islam, shrink the size of Washington, and unite us again in our belief in this great country," Pataki said.

GOP presidential candidate and Texas Sen. Tex Cruz said in a statement Tuesday night he was "grateful" for Pataki's service to New York, particularly while serving as Governor on Sept. 11th.

"He brought experience and knowledge to the race for the Republican nomination, and as a result, helped prepare our eventual nominee to win in November and take back the White House," Cruz said.

Bruce Breton, a local elected official and member of Pataki's New Hampshire steering committee, told the Associated Press that Pataki called him Tuesday afternoon to say he'd be exiting the race. Breton said Pataki's campaign struggled to raise money and garner media attention.

"He said he couldn't get any traction. He worked hard, it's just a different type of year," Breton said.

Pataki had hung his hopes on doing well in early-voting New Hampshire, but he has barely registered in state or national polls.

He also never made it onto a main GOP debate stage.

In November, Pataki told USA Today that he would drop out if another candidate who could unite the party emerged.

"If someone emerged who I believe could unite the party and lead the country and win the election, then there's no need to run," he said.

Pataki announced his candidacy by video in May.

"America has a big decision to make about who we're going to be and what we're going to stand for. The system is broken," he said then. "The question is no longer about what our government should do, but what we should do about our government, about our divided union, about our uncertain future."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.