A New York Daily News story published on Sunday set off a flurry of speculation about former New York Gov. George Pataki’s possible 2012 ambitions, and now there are reports from Iowa that Pataki may be poised to enter the race on Saturday.
Pataki has signed on to attend a Polk County Republican Party picnic in Des Moines on Saturday and Darrell Kearney, a spokesman for the county party told ABC News late Monday night that “based on conversations with Pataki staff there is a strong possibility Gov. Pataki will get in the race, and the announcement may come Saturday.”
Pataki sources did not immediately return messages seeking comment on this newest development, but earlier on Monday, a spokesman for the moderate former Republican governor had this to say about Pataki’s thinking.
“I can confirm that Governor Pataki is seriously considering getting into the race,” spokesman Dan Catalfamo said. “He is deeply disappointed by the failure of leadership by President Obama on the debt issue and in the lack of serious solutions being offered by the current Republican field.”
Kearney said that members of Pataki’s inner-circle have been telling him that he may go from “seriously considering” a run to being an actual candidate on Saturday.
But stepping in to steal some of Pataki's possible thunder is presidential candidate Rick Perry, who organizers said would be a late addition to the picnic lineup. This weekend’s picnic will take place at the Iowa State Fairgrounds and will also feature candidates Ron Paul and Thad McCotter as well as state and local elected officials. In recent weeks, other candidates, including Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann, have attended Polk County GOP events.
If Pataki decided to enter the race, his path to the nomination would be far from clear. As the Daily News pointed out this weekend, he’s a “pro-choice, pro-union and pro-gay rights” Republican who could have a hard time making headway with a more conservative GOP primary electorate.
In the days after the GOP midterm victories last fall, when Pataki first said he was flirting with a run he cast his resume favorably with another former mayor-turned-governor who is also on the fence regarding 2012, Rudy Giuliani.
“It was a challenging job, mayor of Peekskill, let me assure you. Twice the size of Wasilla,” Pataki said on ABC's “Top Line.”
Pataki aded, “What I'm going to be looking at is, do we have the right people out there who have that experience, who have experienced leadership, who have been challenged and who can bring people together — not just Republicans and conservatives, but conservatives [and] Democrats. And make a decision on who else is out there, and whether or not they have those characteristics we need to be able to win this election and govern successfully."