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George Pataki joins GOP race for president

By Danielle Haynes
George Pataki joins GOP race for president
Former New York Gov. George Pataki speaks during the dedication ceremony in Foundation Hall, of the National September 11 Memorial Museum, in New York, Thursday, May 15, 2014. File Photo by UPI/Richard Drew | License Photo

NEW YORK, May 28 (UPI) -- Former New York Gov. George Pataki announced he's joining the race for president in 2016 with a video message on his website Thursday.

The 69-year-old was governor of New York for three consecutive terms, leading the state through the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks at the World Trade Center.

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He touted his moderate approach and ability to lead a largely liberal state as a conservative.

"America has a big decision to make about who we're going to be and what we're going to stand for. The system is broken. The question is no longer about what our government should do, but what we should do about our government, about our divided union, about our uncertain future," Pataki said in the video. "We are all in this together. And let us understand that what unites us is so much more important than what might seem superficially to divide us."

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Pataki hasn't held office since 2007.

He joins a crowded field of candidates seeking the Republican nomination for president, including former Sen. Rick Santorum, who just announced his campaign Wednesday evening.

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A new Quinnipiac University poll found that Pataki wasn't even rated among the top 10 favored candidates and likely candidates for the GOP nomination. In fact, there's no clear leader among the GOP field.

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The top five likely GOP candidates each share about 10 percent of the vote -- former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Rounding out the top 10 are U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., with 7 percent; U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, with 6 percent; Donald Trump with 5 percent; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with 4 percent; and Carly Fiorina and Ohio Gov. John Kasich each with 2 percent.

"Safe to say, the 2016 Republican presidential primary is anyone's race. With no front- runner and identical numbers for the top five contenders, it's a horserace which can only be described as a scrambled field - at least so far," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

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Among potential Democratic voters, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had the most votes by far with 57 percent, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has 15 percent and Vice President Joe Biden has 9 percent.

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