Diane Crookham-Johnson chooses her words carefully when asked about the likelihood former New York Gov. George Pataki may get into the 2012 Republican presidential race.
She’s talked with Pataki, but is hesitant to say whether he will announce his entry into the race when he visits Des Moines Aug. 27.
“At this point I would say he is very seriously entertaining the idea,” the Oskaloosa attorney and longtime GOP activist said. “He’s putting pieces in places so he can make that decision.”
Darrell Kearney, who is helping organize the Aug. 27 Polk County Republicans’ Second Annual Summer Picnic where Pataki will speak think he’ll be a candidate.
“The question is whether he announces here or in New Hampshire,” Kearney said. Judging by the interest shown by the national media, he said it appears others think he’ll announce Saturday night.
The picnic will include appearances by candidates Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Reps. Ron Paul and Thaddeus McCotter.
Crookham-Johnson supported Pataki in the 2008 presidential election cycle and will again if he enters the race. She has been impressed with what Pataki accomplished in 12 years as governor, especially in regard to state taxes and spending.
“I think there are some processes that he used there that would work well for the United States,” she said. “I liked his approach to working with people, with different constituencies and the two parties. I think it’s an approach we desperately need now on a national level.”
Governing a state, even one as large and diverse as New York, is not the same as presiding over a nation, Crookham-Johnson said, “but there are experiences there he could draw in Washington that make him more ready to jump into the race than others might be.”
She predicted Pataki could do well with Iowa Republicans. He campaigned in Iowa in the 2006 and 2007 before announcing in January 2007 he was “going to let the dust settle and see where we are in a few months.” He did not resume his campaign.
“I don’t think there’s any better retail politician,” Crookham-Johnson said. “Iowans think of New York as New York City, but once you get upstate there are lots of similarities in the challenges that people face in Upstate New York and we face in Iowa.”
Tickets for the Polk County Summer Picnic are $25 per person and will feature hamburgers, hot dogs and the usual summer fare, along with tractor rides around the Iowa State Fairgrounds and other fun activities. For more information, contact Darrell Kearney at (515) 280-6438 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.