- The Washington Times - Friday, August 26, 2011

After flirting with a late entry into the 2012 Republican presidential sweepstakes, former New York Gov. George Pataki said Friday he wil not seek the nomination.

Mr. Pataki, who served three terms in Albany, had been visiting early primary and caucus states in recent weeks to test the waters. He said Friday he was not running but would continue to speak out on the need to get the nation’s financial house in order, according to the Associated Press.

Mr. Pataki had been considering the race amid some Republican grumbling about the quality of the field now in the race to challenge President Obama next year. But the race has been shaken up this month with the high-profile entry of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has instantly established himself as the front-runner in a number of polls.

A social moderate and supporter of abortion rights, Mr. Pataki would likely have faced a tough road to the nomination in the Republican Party, especially given his late start and a fund-raising disadvantage. Utah’s Jon Huntsman, another former governor also pitching himself as a relative moderate in the race, has struggled to rise in the polls.

And party activists are apparently warming to Mr. Perry and the other candidates now in the field, which includes former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

An AP-GfK poll released Friday reported that about two-thirds of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents are pleased with the party’s presidential field, compared with about half in June.

Mr. Perry was making a good first impression nationally as well, with 63 percent of GOP voters having a positive impression of him compared to just 12 percent negative.

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