At least in New York, voters haven’t completely forgotten about George Pataki.
The former governor kicked off his campaign for president in May and has struggled to gain traction in a crowded field of GOP contenders. But in New York, the Republican is still at the top of the pack–with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
Both Mr. Pataki and Mr. Rubio lead all Republican presidential candidates in New York with 11 percent of support from Republican voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released this morning. Ten percent are backing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
“Nobody thinks New York will be a swing state in November, 2016, but in a Republican primary, which could count, New York’s own Gov. George Pataki, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Jeb Bush, both from Florida, are the only double-digit finishers in the early going,” stated Maurice Carroll, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll.
Trailing them is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker with 7 percent. Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Donald Trump each have 6 percent. No other candidate tops 5 percent and 14 percent are undecided.
Polls this early are not always reliable and much in the race could change. Mr. Pataki, who is at the back of the pack nationally, could gain traction and win his old state outright. He may also watch as Mr. Rubio, a rising star in the Republican Party, or another Republican surges past him to beat him on his own turf.
Mr. Pataki was a three-term governor but last held office in 2006. He is an unknown quantity nationwide and voters here are not necessarily enthusiastic about his return to politics, even though he was a relatively popular governor. New York City Republican leaders urged him to run for president a few weeks ago.
Mr. Pataki’s strategy, at this point at least, is not hinging on New York. He has repeatedly visited New Hampshire, an early voting state, and his campaign hopes he can pull off an upset in the Granite State to give him momentum elsewhere.