(Reuters) - Former New York Governor George Pataki on Tuesday ended his long-shot bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
"While tonight is the end of my journey for the White House as I suspend my campaign for president, I'm confident we can elect the right person, someone who will bring us together," said Pataki, who ranked at the bottom of the Republican pack in a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll.
Pataki, 70, made the announcement in a prime-time TV ad that aired in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, which hold the first three contests in the battle for the party's nomination.
His withdrawal is likely to have little impact on the Republican race, which still has 12 candidates. Billionaire businessman Donald Trump leads the field ahead of the opening contest on Feb. 1 in Iowa.
Pataki has vowed not to support Trump if he is the Republican nominee for the November 2016 election, saying the real estate magnate is unfit to be president.
A former three-term governor who has not held office in nearly a decade, Pataki was a moderate voice in a Republican field heavy with conservative candidates.
As governor of one of the most Democratic-leaning states, he supported abortion rights and signed tough gun control legislation.
When he joined the Republican race in May, Pataki called for a simplification of the U.S. tax code and vowed to repeal President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law.
(Reporting by Emily Stephenson and Eric Beech in Washington; Editing by Peter Cooney)