Gov. Pataki Will Open Office In Iowa

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The New York Sun

Governor Pataki is firing up his political machine in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, stoking speculation that he will mount a bid for the Republican nomination for president in 2008.

Mr. Pataki is to travel to Iowa on Friday to open an office in Des Moines for his 21st Century Freedom Political Action Committee, an antitax activist in the state, Edward Failor Jr., said.

While various hopefuls for the 2008 nomination have been making treks through the Hawkeye State to line up support, Mr. Pataki’s semi-permanent presence there is believed to be the earliest by any major contender.

“It will be a centerpiece for getting volunteers together and getting Republicans elected here in Iowa,” Mr. Failor said.

Thus far, Mr. Pataki’s potential presidential bid has not generated the excitement surrounding better-known GOP figures talked about for 2008, such as Senator McCain of Arizona and Mayor Giuliani. However, Mr. Failor said Mr. Pataki’s record will appeal to Iowa voters. “Governor Pataki has proven himself a leader,” the Iowa activist said. “He has cut taxes and he went to a more liberal state and took it in the direction of conservatism.”

Mr. Pataki could be a hard sell to small-government conservatives, given that state spending in New York has grown to a projected $75 billion in the coming fiscal year from $43 billion in 1995. Mr. Failor said the increases were the necessary result of growth brought on by aggressive tax cuts. “Let that be a model for those who don’t believe in trickle down economics,” he said.

Mr. Failor also said Mr. Pataki’s response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, gave him experience that would be useful for a president. “Sure, we all experienced it as Americans, but he actually had to lead after that direct hit,” Mr. Failor said.

Asked why he is not supporting Mr. Giuliani, who is more directly identified with the handling of the attacks, Mr. Failor said he could not forgive the former mayor for endorsing a Democrat, Governor Cuomo, for re-election in 1994. “It wasn’t a Republican endorsing Joe Lieberman. It was Mario Cuomo, a liberal Democrat,” Mr. Failor said.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Pataki’s political committee, Alicia Preston, did not return phone calls from The New York Sun yesterday. She told the Associated Press that the governor also plans to open an office in New Hampshire and is in discussions about setting up a base in South Carolina as well.

Potential presidential candidates often use political action committees to build support among party activists and local officials in the midterm elections preceding a presidential content.

The committees also pay for travel for the potential candidates and allow them to hire political aides who can form the backbone of a presidential bid.

According to federal campaign finance filings, Mr. Pataki’s PAC raised about $1.1 million between January and the end of June.

Mr. McCain’s Straight Talk America PAC raised about $4.6 million in the first eight months of the year.

Another possible contender for 2008, Governor Romney of Massachusetts, is credited with setting up a sophisticated web of fund-raising committees in five states. His groups took in almost $4.3 million in the first half of the year, according to a campaign finance Web site, Democracy in Action. Mr. Giuliani’s PAC, Solutions America, raised nearly $2.1 million through August. Mr. Pataki’s PAC is headed by a former chairman of the New York Republican Party, Alexander Treadwell. Fund-raising for the group is overseen by the CEO of Palm Restaurants, Walter Ganzi Jr.

The New York Sun

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