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Dec 29, 2015 6:27 PM

Steinhauser: George Pataki ending 2016 bid for GOP presidential nomination

NH1 Political Director -

CONCORD - George Pataki is calling it quits.

NH1 News confirmed Tuesday with a source close to Pataki that the former three-term New York governor was calling supporters in New Hampshire to inform them that he's ending his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

Pataki was always a long shot for the GOP nomination. He was hovering just under one percent in an average of the latest polls both nationally and in the first-in-the-nation primary state.

While he made some stops in Iowa and South Carolina, Pataki spent most of his time campaigning in the Granite State. And he was the only presidential candidate in either party to officially announce his bid in New Hampshire, when he formally launched his campaign with a rally at the historic Exeter town hall in June.

Pataki took to Facebook and Twitter at 6:35pm to announce he'd have a special message later in the evening.

That special message came in a paid ad by Pataki that aired prime time on 12 NBC affiliate stations in TV markets in New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina.

"While tonight is the end of my journey for the White House as I suspend my campaign for president, I am confident we can elect the right person. Someone who will bring us together and who understands that politicians, including the president, must be the people’s servant and not their master," said Pataki in a two-minute fireside type chat.

With Pataki out, rival campaigns were pouncing on some of his top supporters in the Granite State. The campaign of Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida won the backing of former New Hampshire Attorney General Peter Heed.

Pataki told NH1 News last month he had considered dropping out

On Nov. 19, when he filed to put his name on the primary ballot, Pataki was asked by NH1 News if he had considered ending his White House bid.

“You know I have thought about it,” Pataki answered. "I’m not naive. I know what the national polls say. But when I come to New Hampshire, when I go to Iowa, when I go to South Carolina, people come up to me all the time and say ‘you have to stay in’,” Pataki said.

Fundraising concerns

In October, Pataki told NH1 News that “we have enough to continue our campaign. We’ve got great people here on the ground in New Hampshire.”

But admitted that his campaign didn't have a lot of cash, joking that “I read where this campaign or the other campaign are laying off all these staff because they’ve run out of money. We don’t have to worry about that because we haven’t had any money from the beginning.”

Pataki's exit from the race comes eight days after another long shot for the GOP nomination who also campaigned almost exclusively in the Granite State, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, ended his presidential campaign.

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