Pataki tells supporters he's ending 2016 bid

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Former New York Gov. George Pataki is telling supporters that he plans to drop his bid for the Republican nomination.

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Ben Gamache, a New Hampshire Realtor who was on Pataki's steering committee in the state, said that he received a call Tuesday from the former governor, who told him he planned to end his campaign but did not say when he intended to make the news public.

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Pataki tells supporters he's ending 2016 bid
George Pataki, former governor of New York and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, waves on stage at the start of the Republican presidential candidate debate at The Venetian in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015. With less than two months remaining before the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses and the Feb. 9 New Hampshire primary, middle-of-the-pack candidates hoping for a late surge in the polls have little choice but to come out swinging in tonight's fifth Republican debate. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Republican Presidential hopeful George Pataki, former Governor of New York, speaks during the 2016 Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Candidates Forum in Washington, DC, December 3, 2015. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - MAY 16: Former New York Governor George Pataki speaks to guests gathered for the Republican Party of Iowa's Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center on May 16, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The event sponsored by the Republican Party of Iowa gave several Republican presidential hopefuls an opportunity to strengthen their support among Iowa Republicans ahead of the 2016 Iowa caucus. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Former New York Governor George Pataki speaks at the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) 2015 Alfred K. Whitehead Legislative Conference and Presidential Forum in Washington, DC, March 10, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
GREENVILLE, SC - MAY 09: Former New York Governor George Pataki speaks at the Freedom Summit on May 9, 2015 in Greenville, South Carolina. Pataki joined eleven other potential candidates in addressing the event hosted by conservative group Citizens United. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
Former New York Gov. George Pataki, right, takes answers a question from local radio talk show host Peter St. James at a Republican Leadership Summit, Friday, April 17, 2015, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
DES MOINES, IA - MARCH 07: Former Gov. George Pataki of New York fields questions from Bruce Rastetter at the Iowa Ag Summit on March 7, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The event allows the invited speakers, many of whom are potential 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls, to outline their views on agricultural issue. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Former New York Gov. George Pataki speaks during the New York State Republican Convention in Rochester, N.Y., Friday, March 16, 2012. (AP Photo/David Duprey)
Former New York governor George Pataki speaks at the Freedom Summit, Saturday, May 9, 2015, in Greenville, S.C. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 15: Former New York Gov. George Pataki speaks during the dedication ceremony in Foundation Hall at the National September 11 Memorial Museum at ground zero May 15, 2014 in New York City. The museum spans seven stories, mostly underground, and contains artifacts from the attack on the World Trade Center Towers on September 11, 2001 that include the 80-foot high tridents, the so-called 'Ground Zero Cross,' the destroyed remains of Company 21's New York Fire Department Engine as well as smaller items such as letter that fell from a hijacked plane and posters of missing loved ones projected onto the wall of the museum. The museum will open to the public on May 21. (Photo by Richard Drew-Pool/Getty Images)
Former New York Gov. George Pataki speaks during the Iowa Agriculture Summit, Saturday, March 7, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Former New York Gov. George Pataki, center, embraces a woman at the side of the north reflecting pool of the Sept. 11 memorial during 10th anniversary ceremonies at the site, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, in New York. (AP Phoro/Justin Lane, Pool)
Former New York Gov. George Pataki speaks at the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Legislative Conference and Presidential Forum in Washington, Tuesday, March 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
**FILE** In this Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2006, file photo, New York Gov. George Pataki spoke at the John F. Kennedy School of Government's Institute of Politics at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Pataki said Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2007, that he is not ready to jump into the presidential race. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
In this Nov. 14, 2006 file photo, New York Gov. George Pataki speaks at the John F. Kennedy School of Government's Institute of Politics at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Pataki said, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, he is "very seriously" considering a run for president in 2016, arguing that the nation needs a chief executive with the kind of experience he gained during three terms as New York's governor. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, right, and New York Gov. George Pataki address a joint news conference after they toured the roof of a "green" apartment building in New York's Battery Park City, Monday, Oct. 16, 2006. Schwarzenegger is spending the day in New York City talking about clean energy and environmental issues. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, Pool)
Governor George Pataki attends the Hearst Tower Inauguration, Monday, Oct. 9, 2006, in New York. (AP Photo/Paul Hawthorne)
New York Governor George Pataki, flanked by State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, left, and World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein, right, takes questions after welcoming the Freedom Tower construction crew Thursday, April 27, 2006 in New York. The groundbreaking follows months of debate and wrangling over control of buildings and money at Ground Zero. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
New York Gov. George Pataki speaks at a news conference at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y. Tuesday, March 21, 2006. The news conference was Pataki's first public appearance since leaving a New York City hospital. (AP Photo/Tim Roske)
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"He thanked me for my friendship, my support, he said we're gonna work together as a Republican Party and we're gonna get the best man in office and he doesn't want to stand in the way of that," Gamache said.

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Another member of Pataki's steering committee, Bruce Breton, also told NBC News that he spoke with Pataki by phone about his decision to end his presidential bid.

Breton tweeted Tuesday: "I think I'm a free agent now."

Pataki's campaign also announced that NBC News affiliates in New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina will air a "special message" from the governor at 9pm ET Tuesday night.

The news of Pataki's likely withdrawal from the race was first reported by the Boston Globe. A spokeswoman for the campaign was not immediately available for comment.

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Pataki failed to gain any significant traction in public polls, only rarely topping one percent measured support since getting into the race.

He participated in several network undercard debates but lacked the support to qualify for the prime-time stage in any of the race's five debates to date. He also failed to make the primary ballot in key states like Ohio and Texas.

The former New York governor used his undercard appearances to take aim at Donald Trump. In September, he called Trump "unfit to be the president of the United States or the Republican nominee."

In the latest fundraising quarter, Pataki only raised about $153,000, including a significant loan from the candidate himself.


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