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George Pataki pulls out of Republican race for US presidency

Former New York governor George Pataki has pulled out of the race to be the Republican nominee for US president. Analysts say the centrist has failed to gain traction amid the dominance of billionaire Donald Trump.

In an announcement on TV on Tuesday evening, Pataki told his supporters that he was dropping his long-shot bid for the 2016 Republican 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," he said.

The 70-year-old was described as a moderate voice in a field of particularly conservative candidates.

Pataki ranked at the bottom of the list of 13 Republican potential nominees in a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll and has had trouble raising funds, political analysts said.

His pull-out is likely to have little impact on the Republican race, in which Donald Trump leads the field. The billionaire businessman has faced tough scrutiny from other candidates during two Republican TV debates.

Trump's tactics questioned

But Pataki has previously said that the real estate magnate and former star of TV's "The Apprentice" is unfit to be president.

"Donald Trump is the know-nothing candidate of the 21st century and cannot be our nominee," he told supporters last month.

Pataki is a former three-term New York governor, who held the role at the time of the September 11 terrorist attacks but who has not been in office for a decade.

Earlier on Tuesday, two members of his steering committee gave the media advance warning that Pataki was to pull out of the race.

The first state-wide vote in the nominating process is due to take place on February 1 in Iowa.

Trump currently has 39.3 percent support, according to the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll, in part thanks to several controversial statements on immigration and Muslims, which have been widely denounced.

Jeb Bush, the brother of former US President George W Bush, is also in the running.

mm/bk (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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