Exeter: Former New York Governor George Pataki announced on Thursday he will run for the White House in 2016, becoming one of the longest shots in a crowded Republican presidential nomination contest.
The three-term governor has not held office since 2006 and barely registers in opinion polls on more than a dozen Republican presidential hopefuls.
Announcing his candidacy in the town of Exeter, New Hampshire, Pataki took a swipe at Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton for charging high speaking fees.
"She speaks for the middle class? They are the party of privilege, we are the party of the middle class," he said.
Pataki, 69, represents a moderate voice in the Republican presidential field.
As governor of one of the most Democratic-leaning states, he supported abortion rights and signed tough gun control legislation. But on Thursday he said his "conservative policies" had slashed the number of people on welfare.
Lacking name recognition, Pataki might struggle to make it into the first Republican debate in August on Fox News, which will be limited to the top 10 Republicans in national opinion polls.
Pataki, the eighth Republican to formally enter the White House race, said his time as governor during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York and Washington had given him valuable insight into the fight against Islamic State.
"I will never forget the lesson of September 11th. We will destroy radical Islam`s ability to attack us over there before they have the chance to attack us here," he said in Exeter, where the Republican Party was founded in 1853.
Pataki told CNN this month that the United States should deploy ground troops against Islamic State in a limited way, and referred to that idea again on Thursday.
"And yes, if necessary, American forces will be used to actually defeat and destroy ISIS so they can pose no threat to us here," he said.
Pataki called for a simplification of the U.S. tax code and a ban on former members of Congress becoming lobbyists, and vowed to repeal Democratic President Barack Obama`s signature healthcare law.
The former governor has been carrying out low-key campaigning in recent months, especially in early voting state New Hampshire and Florida.
Pataki was a first-term state senator in New York when he beat Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo in a national wave of Republican victories in 1994.