To the surprise of no one, George Pataki has withdrawn from the 2016 GOP race.
When the former New York Governor entered the GOP race last May, I likened him to Jeb Bush only with the fraction of the money. Like Bush, many of Pataki’s views are out of step with Republican voters. As with Bush, he last ran for office in 2002 and it showed. Pataki never ascended beyond the GOP undercard debate.
But Pataki’s departure is meaningful in this sense. How much longer will the GOP carry on with these undercard debates now that the field is down to 12? With both Pataki and Lindsey Graham having dropped out within the past week or so, this leaves Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum on the undercard for the debate in South Carolina on January 14th. I doubt that FOX Business would be content for a debate featuring the Mr. Happy and Mr. Angry of the social conservative wing of the GOP. But unless FOX Business is planning to extend an invitation to Jim Gilmore, my guess is that some demotions from the GOP main stage are probably in order. I suspect that Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina and John Kasich would be the most likely to find themselves on the undercard with Huckabee and Santorum. If that is the case then I bet Paul, Fiorina and Kasich might very well say in unisom, “Thanks a lot, Pataki!!!”
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