With 2012 in Sight, George Pataki Continues Push to Repeal Health-Care Law
Former N.Y. governor could join potentially crowded field of presidential candidates
Around the State
Through October, former New York Gov. George Pataki has taken to the airwaves and headed out on the campaign trail -- leading to more speculation that he intends to launch a bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.
Defeating Democratic icon Mario Cuomo in 1994, Pataki served three terms as governor of the Empire State before deciding not to seek office in 2006. Since then, Pataki has formed Revere America, a political organization seeking to repeal Barack Obama's new federal health-care laws.
Pataki’s organization is circulating a petition to repeal Obamacare, and last week the petition received a boost when U.S. House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio signed it.
“We are pleased that Leader Boehner is joining this effort,” said Pataki. “We will count on his leadership in the 111th Congress. Revere America is receiving signed pledges every day.”
According to Revere America, 20 congressional candidates, including incumbents, have signed on to the petition. While no members of Florida’s delegation have signed it, Republican U.S. Rep. Mary Bono Mack of California, who is married to Florida U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, has signed. Connie Mack, who is considering running against Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012, has called for repeal of the health-care laws.
Besides pushing for the repeal, Pataki has been hitting states that are crucial to winning the presidential nomination. On Wednesday morning he campaigned in Iowa, home of the first caucus, on behalf of Mariannette Miller-Meeks who is running against Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. David Loebsack. Revere America is also running ads against Democratic U.S. Rep. Carol Shea Porter and Democratic candidate Ann McLane Kuster who are both based in New Hampshire -- site of the first presidential primary.
Pataki has flirted with national politics before. There were whispers of Pataki launching a bid for the presidency in 2000 and 2008, but he declined to enter the field both times. There was also talk of Pataki being picked for vice president in 1996, 2000 and 2008.
But Pataki faces the same liability that has plagued Republican presidential candidates from New York for decades: his record on some social issues is left of the party’s center. While he has generally been supportive of abortion rights, Pataki opposed partial-birth abortion during his time in Albany, and the “morning after” pill. Pataki has opposed same-sex marriage, but also was against the Federal Marriage Amendment and for increased hate-crimes legislation. While not as well-known, Pataki is not as liberal on social issues as his longtime rival within the New York Republican Party, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who endorsed Cuomo over Pataki back in 1994. However, Pataki will face the same problems on social issues and spending that plagued Giuliani who ran for the Republican nomination in 2008, and Nelson Rockefeller and Thomas Dewey earlier in the 20th century.
Pataki looks set to join a potentially crowded field of Republican candidates, including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, U.S. Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, U.S. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton and businessman Herman Cain.
Pataki was not the only possible Republican presidential candidate stumping in key states for 2012. Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania campaigned in Iowa and New Hampshire over the last week, increasing speculation that he intends to launch a White House bid.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (850) 727-0859.