Republican George Pataki to drop 2016 US presidential bid

Former New York governor George Pataki.
Former New York governor George Pataki. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Mr George Pataki, who was governor of New York during the Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, told key supporters on Tuesday (Dec 29) that he is ending his presidential bid, US media reported.

Mr Pataki, a moderate Republican, was running a longshot campaign from the start, and his candidacy failed to take off in a crowded Republican field dominated by the bluster of billionaire Donald Trump and dragged to the conservative right in the primary race.

Two Pataki supporters told The Boston Globe that they spoke with the former governor and were disappointed in his decision, but not surprised.

Mr Pataki, 70, failed to win over sufficient support among the party's establishment, who gravitated towards better known candidates including former Florida governor Jeb Bush and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Even in early-voting New Hampshire, a state where he invested the most of his time and resources, he barely resonated. The latest ARG poll of likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire found less than one per cent support for Mr Pataki.

With Mr Pataki's departure, the Republican field is narrowed to 12 candidates. The first state-wide vote in the nominating process is Feb 1 in Iowa.