George Elmer Pataki (; born June 24, 1945) is an American lawyer and politician who served as the 53rd governor of New York from 1995 to 2006. An attorney by profession, Pataki was elected mayor of his hometown of Peekskill, New York, and went on to be elected to the State Assembly and the State Senate. After defeating three-term incumbent Governor Mario Cuomo by a margin of three points in 1994, Pataki would go on to be reelected twice more and served three consecutive terms. He was the third Republican since 1923 to win New York's governorship, after Thomas E. Dewey and Nelson Rockefeller. As of 2023, Pataki and his second Lieutenant Governor, Mary Donohue, are the last Republicans to be elected to statewide office in New York, although State Senate Majority Leaders Joseph Bruno and Dean Skelos each briefly served as acting Lieutenant Governor in 2008. Pataki's most notable achievements as governor included the creation of a number of new health care programs, presiding over recovery efforts following the September 11 attacks, and for increasing the state's credit rating three times. He chose not to run for a fourth term in 2006; he was succeeded by Democrat Eliot Spitzer. Pataki announced his candidacy for the Republican Party presidential nomination on May 28, 2015. He withdrew from the race shortly before the primaries began on December 29, 2015.
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