Former New York governor George Pataki had made barely a blip in the polls, and he'd been relegated to the undercard debates, and now he's dropped out of the campaign.
He'd argued his party was distracted by social issues such as marriage equality, which he said should be left to states to decide. Then Pataki urged acceptance when the Supreme Court's ruling spread through the country, though he told the Washington Blade that his personal view is marriage should be between a man and a woman. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow had reported that Pataki recently failed to make the ballot in key states such as Florida and Ohio.
Pataki made the announcement today in a TV ad that The New York Times reports aired in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. In it, Pataki called on voters to pick "the right person, someone who will bring us together."
"If we truly are going to make America great again," he said, referencing frontrunner Donald Trump's campaign slogan, then a candidate needs to "unite us again in our belief in this great country."
Real estate developer and GOP donor Earle Mack, who had backed Pataki, was among those lamenting the decline of moderate voices.
“It’s time for a more moderate Republican,” Mack told the Times in reaction to the announcement. “If we don’t have a candidate that understands the Supreme Court has ruled that gay marriage is legal and a woman’s right to choose is legal, if they can’t get that through their head, they’re going to keep losing elections.”
Watch the announcement below:
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story described George Pataki as a supporter of marriage equality. In fact, he told the Washington Blade in July that “Personally, I think marriage is between a man and a woman, but I accept the fact that the court has ruled and that is the law of the land.”