Former New York Gov. George Pataki, displeased with the current lot of GOP presidential hopefuls, is reportedly on the verge of deciding to take them on himself in the battle for the Republican nomination.
Pataki's spokesman, David Catalfamo, told amNewYork that Pataki "continues to seriously consider a run for president." Sources told NY1 that Pataki, who left office in 2007, could make an announcement as early as next week.
Pataki, 66, has been teasing a run all year, leaving open the possibility in numerous interviews and statements, most recently telling a Boston radio station he's "seriously thinking about running for president" because he's unimpressed with his party's current candidates.
His nonprofit group, No American Debt, has aired TV ads in Iowa and New Hampshire, and Pataki has occasionally visited both states. But he hasn't put together the kind of political infrastructure needed for a national campaign.
Still, Pataki -- who's had his eyes on a national run on and off almost since he was first elected governor in 1994 -- has kept the 2012 speculation alive, including leaving the door slightly open when he announced he was forming No American Debt in April.
If Pataki decides to run, it's not too late for him to become a top-tier contender, experts said, though it will be an uphill battle for the three-term governor.
"If he were to jump in, it's getting very down to the wire at this point" because many top political aides and fundraisers have been snapped up by other candidates, said Jamie Chandler, political science professor at Hunter College. "But that doesn't mean it's not possible for Pataki to get in and be a credible candidate," Chandler said, adding that Pataki could make a "good offset to Rick Perry."
Indeed, Pataki's consistent record of moderate Conservatism could be a boon, along with his "executive experience in a large state," said Matt Dickinson, political science professor at Middlebury College who runs the blog Presidential Power.
"He has some name recognition, I think he has a record to run on that's generally strong," Dickinson said. "In some respects, if he could get out of the primary with a nomination, he'd be a more formidable candidate in the general election."