Links - Official Sites: Friends of Pataki, 21st Century Freedom PAC
FEC: PAC finances (1)  VPAP: PAC Overview   Organization
Patrick Ruffini's 2008 Presidential Wire: Stories on George Pataki
In Brief -  Elected Governor of New York in Nov. 1994, defeating Mario Cuomo; re-elected 1998 and 2002, did not seek re-election in 2006 and term ended Jan. 1, 2007.   Elected to the State Senate in 1992.  Elected to the State Assembly four times.  Elected Mayor of Peekskill in 1981, re-elected 1983.  Graduate of Yale University, 1967 and Columbia Law School, 1970.  Born June 24, 1945 on the family farm in Peekskill, NY.  [Timeline].

Looking to the National Stage
Following the Nov. 2004 elections, Gov. George Pataki held the distinction of being the longest serving governor in the United States.  He announced on July 27, 2005 that he will not seek re-election to a fourth term.  Pataki was New York's second straight three-term governor; he came to office by defeating Democratic Party icon Mario Cuomo in 1994.  Pataki likes to say that he came to office after a 20-year "experiment in liberal Democratic governance."  Among his accomplishments as governor, Pataki cites reductions in violent crime, tax cuts, and more than one million fewer people on welfare. "Our policies work, and our policies work not just for the business people or the entrepreneurs, they work for every single American," he states.

"Active But Limited Government"
In his Jan. 4, 2006 State of the State address, Pataki stated, "I believe in active but limited government -- a government that is engaged and effective, but never intrusive or over-reaching: a government that works vigorously and diligently to identify problems and then creates opportunities for people to solve them; a government that staunchly protects its citizens' freedom to work, live and raise their families yet never dictates how they should do so."  If he were to run for president Pataki could be an attractive candidate for centrists.

However he would likely also face considerable difficulties among conservatives who see him as a Republican in Name Only (RINO).  Conservatives have trouble with some of Pataki's positions on social issues.  His record on abortion can best be described as mixed.  He also has a reputation for being pro-gay rights; notably in 2002 he signed the Sexual Orientation Nondiscrimination Act.  The conservative Human Events in its Dec.  27, 2005 issue named Pataki as number six on its list of "The Top 10 RINOs."  The paper's editors noted that Pataki: "Helped unions raise pay and unionize Indian casinos.  Has said, 'I believe in a limited government, low taxes, a tough approach to crime. ... But I also believe in an activist government. Iím not one of those laissez-faire types.'"  Likewise the National Review ran an unfavorable cover story on Pataki earlier in the year.  In Oct. 2006 a Conservative Party activist came out with an entire book arguing that "fiscally, economically, and culturally Governor Pataki sold out to leftist interests."  Also weighing against Pataki is the fact that

Active Pre-Campaign, Then a Slow Fade
Pataki was one of the most active of the Republican presidential prospects in the pre-campaign period, making many visits to Iowa (10 visits in 2005-06) and New Hampshire (11 visits in 2005-06) and building the rudiments of organizations in those states.  As one might expect of someone who has been elected to public office eight times, he is a good campaigner who enjoys meeting with and listening to people; he is tall and has something of a "presidential presence."  Additionally Pataki has a built in constituency around the country -- transplanted New Yorkers who often come up and say hello to him.

However, Pataki's hopes dimmed following the November 2006 midterm elections.  New York Republicans came out of those elections without holding any statewide elected offices.  Also in November several of Pataki's key Iowa supporters left his team.  A more high profile New Yorker, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, formed an exploratory committee.  On Jan. 1, 2007 Pataki handed the governor's office over to his successor, Democrat Eliot Spitzer.  After several weeks out of the spotlight, Pataki emerged on January 26 to deliver a speech on "A Way Forward in Iraq" at Georgetown University.  On January 30 he made a quiet visit to New Hampshire; it was reported that he released his supporters, while still leaving open the door to a run.  On March 7, Pataki and his chief of staff John Cahill joined Chadbourne & Parke LLP in New York "to focus on energy, environmental and corporate matters" and in August reports that he was in the process of establishing the Pataki-Cahill Group to do consulting on clean energy and environmental issues.

Stump speech NH Republican Party Christmas Party Christmas Party in Concord, Dec. 14, 2005.  [transcript]

Readings and Articles
Author with Daniel Paisner of PATAKI: Where I Come From (Viking Adult, June 1, 1998).

George J. Marlin.  October 2006.  SQUANDERED OPPORTUNITIES: New York's Pataki Years.  South Bend, IN: St. Augustine's Press
"In this first commentary on the Pataki administration, George Marlin, former Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and New York Conservative Party activist, traces how fiscally, economically, and culturally Governor Pataki sold out to leftist interests.  In SQUANDERED OPPORTUNITIES, Marlin contends that the Pataki Administration did not possess a philosophical compass.  Political expediency overwhelmed any political philosophy, and 'political conscience' and 'political ideals' were mere slogans used to patronize conservatives."

John J. Miller.  "The GOP's Pataki Problem."  National Review.  February 28, 2005 (cover story).


Jan. 26, 2007-Proposes "A Way Forward in Iraq" in a speech at Georgetown University.
Oct. 2, 2006-Opening the New Hampshire office of the 21st Century Freedom State PAC  and doing a walking tour downtown in Manchester, NH. [BJ Perry]
Sept. 29, 2006-Opening the Iowa office of the 21st Century Freedom PAC in Urbandale, IA.  [21st Century Freedom PAC]
Aug. 11-12, 2006-At the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, IA; and touring the Pine Lake Corn Processors ethanol plant near Steamboat Rock, IA.
Aug. 7, 2006-Delivered a major speech on "Energy Freedom, Putting an End to Foreign Oil's Dangerous Grip on America's Future" at the National Press Club.
June 16, 2006-At the GOParty Picnic in Des Moines, IA.  [Republican Party of Iowa]
May 26-27, 2006-Scenes from a three-day trip to Iowa.  [21st Century Freedom PAC]
April 27-28, 2006-Several stops in NH.  [21st Century Freedom PAC]
Dec. 14, 2005-Speaks at the NH Republican Party's Christmas Partyin Concord, NH.  [NHRSC/Bill Fish Photography]
Dec. 6, 2005-Speaks at a fundraiser for Taxpayers United in Des Moines, IA.  [Iowans for Tax Relief]
Oct. 23, 2005-Campaigns with mayoral candidate Frank Guinta in Manchester, NH.  [Guinta for Mayor]
Oct. 28, 2005-Tours Vermeer Manufacturing Company in Pella, IA.  [Vermeer Manufacturing Company]
Sept. 13, 2005-At the Chamber of Commerce's 87th Annual Meeting in Cedar Rapids, IA.  [Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce]

On the Web
21st Century Freedom PAC
site launched last week of April 2006
(May 2, 2006 grab)
Friends of Pataki
site largely inactive throughout 2005

Critic's Corner
-The week of Aug. 1, 2005, NARAL Pro-Choice NY ran a TV spot highlighting Gov. George Pataki's veto of the Unintended Pregnancy Prevention Act (A.116/S3661) and charging that his move is a flip-flop motivated by 2008 presidential ambitions. "Hail to the Chief" ran in Manchester, NH on WMUR-TV (50 GRPs) as well as in Iowa (200 GRPs total-Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Sioux City) and New York.

-The Alliance for Quality Education, a New York coalition, organized a trip of several parents and students to Cedar Rapids, Iowa on September 13, 2005 "to deliver a failing report card to New York Governor George Pataki because he has failed children by under funding public schools."  [press release, photo] Pataki spoke to the Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce.
Copyright © 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action