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Pataki cited Kasich's ability to beat Hillary Clinton

The endorsement comes as Kasich works to build support in New York

New York CNN —  

Ohio Gov. John Kasich picked up a high-profile New York endorsement Thursday night as the campaign added former New York Gov. George Pataki to its team as a national co-chair.

Pataki cited Kasich’s ability to beat Hillary Clinton and bring Americans together as his top reasons for supporting the Ohio governor.

“I’m proud to endorse Governor John Kasich to be the next president of the United States,” Pataki told reporters ahead of a black tie New York GOP fundraiser dinner. “He will win this race if he’s the Republican nominee. He will bring Americans together and he will successfully lead this great country. So I’m honored to endorse Governor Kasich.”

Pataki is the first former 2016 Republican presidential candidate to endorse Kasich. He suspended his campaign in late December before any votes were cast.

The endorsement comes as Kasich works to build support in New York ahead of Tuesday’s primary. Kasich said Pataki will be a valuable surrogate in the fight for delegates.

“We’re going to be able to use him actually at the convention, talking about the points that he’s made. We will go into that convention having won more delegates, we will have momentum, and then to have somebody like George Pataki working across all the delegations to let people know about the fact that we can win, and that that matters,” Kasich said.

“He is respected by people all across the country because of his success in running New York. This is a guy who was the governor of New York three times. That is almost like a miracle when you can do that, and he brought people together, and with his stature, his support, I think we’re going to be in very good shape.”