Washington (CNN) – Ending months of speculation, former New York Gov. George Pataki said Friday he will not run for the Republican presidential nomination.
Pataki, a three-term governor, said the GOP needs to focus its efforts on finding “serious solutions” to the problems facing the country and he pledged to be a voice in helping advance these ideas, but not as a presidential candidate.
“It is incumbent on our party to come forward with serious solutions to preserve our future and ensure America's continued greatness,” Pataki said in a statement released early Friday afternoon. “I remain committed to the advancement of real, politically viable reforms to entitlements and rolling back the size and cost of the federal government. At this time, I will continue to do this as the leader of No American Debt and not as a candidate for president.”
CNN first reported Pataki’s decision to forgo a presidential bid early Friday morning.
The former New York governor, who had been openly flirting with a bid, was scheduled to appear in Iowa Saturday for a local party fundraiser. He was expected to make his White House intentions known at the Polk County Republican event.
Had Pataki entered the race, his campaign would have centered primarily on fiscal issues as he sought to appeal to centrist Republicans and independent voters. The former governor would have faced an uphill battle for the nomination against better funded and more organized rivals for the GOP nomination such as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Pataki said he will continue as the chairman of ‘No America Debt,’ an organization whose primary mission is to “advance the national dialogue about America’s debt crisis.”
“Throughout the coming months I will remain active in this important discussion and support the candidate who offers the vision, the ideas and the leadership to bring an end to America's debt crisis,” he said.