It's a hard-knock life out there for a GOP candidate currently. It's hard to get your voice heard during this election cycle. This is apparently what Bobby Jindal realized, as he announced that he was dropping out of the race Tuesday afternoon. Jindal's departure won't be a huge hit to the 2016 field, as he was barely polling at 1 percent. If anything, his absence will only be felt at the GOP undercard debates, in which he was a recurring player. With Jindal gone, the field will open up a little bit. But who will be the next to go?
Back in September, Politico predicted that Jindal and former New York Gov. George Pataki would be the next to drop out, and that will likely hold true. Like Jindal, Pataki is a recurring participant in the Republican JV debates. His campaign is extremely low-profile and heavily focused in New Hampshire — so much so that the debates are the only time anyone outside of the state really gets to see him. Currently, CNN's political prediction market has Pataki polling as 89 percent likely to drop out by the new year. Sure, there are other undercard candidates who are also polling poorly and could potentially be next on the chopping block, but Pataki is the most likely. Because no one knows who he is.
Those who are aware of the former governor's existence aren't overly flattering. Politico once called Pataki "Jim Gilmore without the sex appeal," while others question why he's even running. His campaign's existence seems to be a perpetual source of confusion for political reporters, who wonder why a man would run for president when he knows he can't win. And there's no doubt that Pataki knows he can't win.
Pataki is running what he likes to call a "grassroots campaign," and what anyone else would call a failure. He is broke, and no debate showing seems to be fixing it. According to the International Business Times, he only had $13,000 on hand at the end of September. And as Bloomberg points out, the "latest news" section of a Pataki Super PAC hasn't been updated since July. It's not just that the PAC is slow to update their website — there just hasn't been much news for them to report. Things have been all quiet in the Pataki camp for a while now. The biggest wave he's made recently was a request to NBC for equal airtime after Donald Trump appeared on Saturday Night Live.
Pataki insinuates that he's running a long-game campaign, and he currently has one target in focus: New Hampshire. "New Hampshire, New Hampshire, New Hampshire, New Hampshire, New Hampshire — and then the rest of the country," he told the New Hampshire Union Leader in early October. But that long game will probably only last as long as February, when the state holds its primary election. According to Real Clear Politics, for all his efforts, Pataki is only pulling in about 0.3 percent in the state.
If New Hampshire doesn't go well for Pataki — and I seriously doubt it will — he won't have any reason to stay. Compared to Lindsey Graham, who has taken it upon himself to singlehandedly combat ISIS, Pataki has no greater mission in this election aside from making the GOP look a little less crazy. But how rational is a man who stays in a fight he can't win? Pataki's time is almost up.