AP sources: Giuliani leaning toward Senate run

ALBANY - (AP) - Former New York City Mayor RudyGiuliani, encouraged by many Republicans to run for governor in2010, is instead leaning toward a run for U.S. Senate, according totwo party advisers.

"From staff, we have been hearing that he has been indicatingquietly and privately recently that governor might not be the bestfit for him now," one adviser said Thursday. "But the U.S. Senatecould be a perfect fit for him."

The adviser noted that nobody is saying Giuliani has decided,but it "certainly sounds" like he is less interested in runningfor governor. Another adviser echoed that.

The advisers spoke on the condition of anonymity because theyweren't authorized to speak for the state Republican Party orGiuliani.

The New York Times, citing unidentified people told of thedecision, reported Thursday that Giuliani, 65, wouldn't run forgovernor after months of considering it.

Giuliani spokeswoman Maria Comella disputed that report, sayinghe told her Thursday that he hadn't made a decision.

Republicans have been watching polls showing that Giuliani, whocame to be known as "America's mayor" when he saw grieving NewYorkers through the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, would beatDemocratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in a hypothetical matchup in theSenate race next year. Gillibrand was appointed this year to fillHillary Rodham Clinton's unexpired term when she became secretaryof state.

Polls also show Giuliani trailing in a possible matchup withDemocrat Andrew Cuomo, the popular state attorney general amassinga large campaign fund.

Cuomo hasn't announced a run for the office, once held by hisfather, Mario, but is widely expected to. He dropped out before aprimary in the 2002 governor's race because he lacked support.

A Marist College poll this month found that Cuomo would beatGiuliani for governor, 53 percent to 43 percent. But Giuliani leadsGillibrand 54 percent to 40 percent in a possible Senate run.

Former Rep. Sherwood Bohlert, a moderate New York Republican whoserved 24 years in Congress, called Giuliani "a leader of theparty nationally, not just in New York," and said he thinks theformer mayor would have an impact in Washington.

Republicans in Albany were energized. "I think, certainly, Rudy Giuliani would be a great U.S.senator and bring a unique perspective," said New York AssemblyRepublican leader Brian Kolb. He hasn't heard confirmation of themayor's decision, but also believes Giuliani is leaning toward aSenate run.

Democratic Gov. David Paterson was skeptical of the reports whenasked for comment Thursday. "If you don't mind I'd just ratherwait for the mayor," he said.

Giuliani ran for Senate in 2000 in what was to be a titanicclash with Clinton. He withdrew when he found out he had cancer,which he has since beaten. He also withdrew from last year'spresidential race, lacking support for the GOP nomination.

A third Republican adviser said Giuliani is expected to giveRick Lazio, the only announced Republican in the race, early noticeof his decision. The adviser wasn't authorized to speak for theparty and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Earlier this year, some Republicans talked about Giuliani as"Rudy the Savior."

After losing the state Senate majority last fall after ahalf-century of rule, the GOP is shut out of every statewide officeand the majorities of both houses of the Legislature for the firsttime in decades.

That locks the party out of critical control of patronage jobsand the power of incumbency to build electoral wins. Voterenrollment also is giving Democrats a nearly 2 to 1 advantagestatewide, and growing.

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