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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

George Pataki, politics' Rodney Dangerfield, poised to announce bid for president

Former New York Gov. George Pataki, a Republican,

Former New York Gov. George Pataki, a Republican, on April 28, 2014 in Island Park. Credit: Howard Schnapp

For all the respect he gets, former Gov. George Pataki may prove to be the Rodney Dangerfield of national politics. Still, he's expected to announce his bid for president Thursday in New Hampshire, adding yet another face to the GOP pack.

Modern New York Republicans have a bleak record in national contests. Nelson Rockefeller, who served four terms as governor, lost presidential bids in 1960, 1964, and 1968 (and later served as an appointed vice president).

John Lindsay, the late New York City mayor, crashed quickly as a presidential contender after switching from Republican to Democrat. Ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani initially polled well before his disastrous 2008 campaign won him only one GOP delegate at a cost of nearly $50 million.

And Rockefeller in his time was a force in his party; Giuliani was world-famous after 9/11. Many out-of-town GOP voters, it is reported, seem to neither know nor care who Pataki is or was.

But put the early odds aside, friends say, and their man will compare favorably with others in the potential 2016 field.

Surely Pataki, who served three terms in New York, shows better manners than New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; more charm and temperament than Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; more debating skill than ex-Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and less peculiarity than ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

CORRUPTION CONCERNS: Assemb. Brian Curran (R-Lynbrook), whose district overlaps that of state Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), issued a statement touting "35 Albany politicians who have been arrested, charged with crimes, indicted or left office due to violations of the public's trust since 2002. Had enough yet?" Curran goes on to call for term limits for state elected officials and other measures. Curran doesn't note Skelos is among those charged. It seems too early to tell if the ex-majority leader, who has denied wrongdoing, will run next year -- or if Curran might eventually seek the seat.


DEMS CONVENE: Nassau County Democrats are due to convene Tuesday at the Cradle of Aviation in Garden City to take up fall nominees. Drawing the most attention so far is the district attorney's race in which county chairman Jay Jacobs backs incumbent Madeline Singas, who faces a possible primary against lawyer Michael Scotto of Port Washington. The nominee would face GOP Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray in November. Also on the menu: A Surrogate's Court judgeship, the legislature's 19 seats and city and town races.


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