“I think Donald Trump would drive the Republicans off a cliff if he’s our nominee,” Pataki, one of Trump’s biggest Republican critics, told ABC News' Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and Political Director Rick Klein on the “Powerhouse Politics” podcast, saying he’s doing everything in his power to prevent a Trump nomination. “I am encouraging people to come out and vote ... whether you like [Ted] Cruz or whether you like [John] Kasich, your vote counts.”
Pataki, who ended his bid for the White House in December, has met with both Kasich and Cruz, but would not say which candidate he plans to endorse. However, he promised that his decision would come ahead of Tuesday’s all-important New York primary.
The latest poll has Trump leading by more than 30 percent, according to a NBC-Wall Street Journal-Marist survey released Monday.
Pataki predicted that Kasich would have a significant chance of beating Hillary Clinton in the general election, but conceded that Cruz has had a more organized national campaign and does have a better chance at the nomination.
He also voiced his support for an open Republican National Convention in July, which would occur if no candidate has clinched the number of delegates needed (1,237) ahead of the convention.
Though he predicted the Republican nominee will likely be Trump, Cruz or Kasich, Pataki wasn’t so quick to rule out a potentially different race.
“In all likelihood in my view it will be someone in the race and probably one of the last three,” Pataki told Karl and Klein. “... But I don’t think it’s inconceivable that someone could catch the imagination of the delegates at the convention.”
He did, however, rule himself out, joking that the odds of him being chosen as the party’s nominee are as great as him walking on the moon in the next two years.