George Pataki Has Never Lost A Political Election, But That Might Change Now That He's Running For President
Former New York Governor George Pataki announced his bid for president on Thursday, and the Republican politician is used to winning. In fact, Pataki has never lost a political election, which is a pretty big feat for a Republican politician in a largely Democratic state. Will his winning streak continue, or will he learn what it feels like to lose? With seven other Republican candidates already running against him, the odds aren't promising, but stranger things have happened during a presidential race. Pataki has been a mayor, state assemblyman, state senator, and governor, on top of his career as a lawyer, and has won every election he's entered.
Pataki's political career began in 1981 when he was elected mayor of Peekskill, a town of 24,000 people about an hour and a half north of New York City. He beat out the Democratic incumbent, Fred Bianco Jr., who had served three terms, by a ratio of more than 2-1 and was re-elected in 1983.
He resigned as mayor to run for state assemblyman in 1984, winning against the one-term Democratic incumbent William J. Ryan. Pataki served four terms on the New York State Legislature, defeating his Democratic opponents every two years.
In 1992, Pataki challenged seven-term Republican State Senator Mary B. Goodhue in the primaries for state senate after she retracted her agreement to retire. Pataki said at the time that he was running against Goodhue due to ideological differences on fiscal policy, calling her "extremely liberal." One of Pataki's main criticisms of Goodhue was her "lack of commitment," allegedly exemplified by her yearly vacations with her grandchildren during budget season. He ultimately won the seat in a 4-way race, with Goodhue on the ballot under a minor party.
He only served one term as a state senator before running for governor. Pataki ran as the Republican candidate for New York state governor in 1994 against Mario M. Cuomo, who had held the office for three terms. The New York Times called the campaign "the most expensive — and arguably the most negative" in the states history at the time. Including the $9 million spent by third-party candidate B. Thomas Golisano, the governors race cost about $31 million. While waiting for the results, Pataki told reporters that he has a superstition of not polishing his black shoes or changing their old laces until he hears the final results of an election. Pataki held the governor's office for three terms from 1995 to 2006 and didn't seek a fourth term.
Since he's so used to winning elections, it might be a rude awakening for Pataki if he doesn't become the next president of the United States, but winning nine out of 10 political elections in a lifetime isn't too shabby. Only time will tell if his election superstitions can hold up in a high-stakes presidential race.
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