Pataki tells supporters he's ending 2016 bid

Gov. Pataki: I Want GOP to Embrace Innovation and Technology
Gov. Pataki: I Want GOP to Embrace Innovation and Technology

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.

See Pataki on the campaign trail:

"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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