Giuliani Running for Senate, Not Governor

Yesterday, the NYT and other outlets reported that former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani has decided against running for governor of New York.  But the Daily News is reporting that he is instead “very likely” to run in the special election to fill the remaining two years of Hillary Clinton’s U.S. Senate seat.

Rudy Giuliani SenateThe Republican heavyweight was considered the GOP’s best shot at reclaiming the governor’s mansion. The only declared candidate on the Republican side is little-known former Long Island Rep. Rick Lazio.

One source said Giuliani is prepared to run for U.S. Senate against Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand next year to fill out the remaining two years of Hillary Clinton’s term.

Still, a number of sources said no decision has been made and a Giuliani spokeswoman downplayed the reports. “Rudy has a history of making up his own mind and has no problem speaking it,” she said. “When Mayor Giuliani makes a decision about serving in public office, he will inform New Yorkers on his own.”

[…]

Former Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari, a close Giuliani pal, said the former mayor has shared doubts with him for weeks about running for governor. “What he said to me is that he doesn’t think he’s going to do it,” Molinari said about a conversation earlier this month with the former mayor. “It just didn’t make any sense to him.” Molinari said the ongoing circus in the state Senate, combined with Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s iron grip on Assembly matters, had convinced Giuliani that a Republican governor would have little ability to get things done quickly in Albany. “The big drawback for him was – could I really be effective?” Molinari said. “He saw too many hangups there. He’s not running for the title, that’s for sure.”

That, and the very real possibility he’d lose to popular Democrat Andrew Cuomo.

But it’s not entirely clear what a Senate seat would do for Giuliani, either.  He’s used to making decisions, so he’d be an ineffective legislator.  And if his goal is to run for president again in 2012, it’s not clear how five minutes in the Senate would bolster his resume — as he’d have to hit the campaign trail almost immediately.  He’d be better off going the Newt Gingrich route and simply establishing himself as a Republican Wise Man, doing as many public appearances as possible.

Frankly, 2008 was his best chance and he blew it.  He was at the height of his popularity and running against a lackluster field for the nomination. Yet he ran a joke of a campaign — literally — “A noun, a verb, and 9/11.” As he moves further and further away from the 9/11 attacks, his light dims.

He’ll be 68 during the 2012 race — facing,  should he make it to the nomination, an incumbent president with superb campaign skills — and 72 for 2016.  The latter will be 15 years after his finest hour.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2010, Campaign 2012, US Politics, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Ugh says:

    He’d be better off going the Newt Gingrich route and simply establishing himself as a Republican Wise Man

    Hah! Good one James.

  2. PD Shaw says:

    As he moves further and further away from the 9/11 attacks, his light dims.

    I think you forget that Holder is planning some sort of unprecedented 9/11 consciousness raising events in NYC over the coming years. It will be like 2001 all over again and again and again . . .

  3. Chris says:

    As an aside – if he was going for a run in 2012 and decided to go to the Senate rather than Albany, is this evidence of pols increasingly seeing the Senate as a better presidential launching pad than a governorship?

    With Obama, Clinton and McCain as the final 3 in 2012, all from the Senate, and with Mark Warner and Evan Bayh, both seen as presidential aspirants, moving from Governorships to the Senate (and I think there was talk of Palin making a run for the Senate after she quit as governor) maybe governorships aren’t as attractive for the ambitious anymore?

  4. Chris says:

    With Obama, Clinton and McCain as the final 3 in 2012

    … or 2008 rather…

  5. floyd says:

    “”He’s used to making decisions, so he’d be an ineffective legislator. And if his goal is to run for president again in 2012, it’s not clear how five minutes in the Senate would bolster his resume.””
    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

    Five minutes in the Senate was enough for Obama before dedicating all his time to running for the Oval Office, Of course he’s still not used to making decisions.
    It is true, however, that Giuliani has a real resume’ and Obama really needed the “5 minute bolster”!

  6. DavidL says:

    Rudy Giuliani dithers more than the exhaulted dim one. Further running away from Andrew Cuomo does not enhance one’s presidential standing. Being the one governor in Albany would be a better stage than one on hundred senators in Washington.

    Very few Senators ever get elected directly to the presidency, and those few that do, Kennedy and Obama, prove the wisdom in not electing buffoons from the caucus of the pompus.

  7. He’d be better off going the Newt Gingrich route and simply establishing himself as a Republican Wise Man, doing as many public appearances as possible.

    This is a little like the suggestion we often hear that Palin should go off to the library and learn to be deep.

    Giuliani is what he is, and wise man ain’t in the cards.

  8. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    That is a completely amazing conclusion. Since he is used to making decisions, he would be ineffective as a legislator. I just do not follow the logic there. My education in political science is circa 1965 but still, I believe legislators make decisions all of the time. Maybe modern political science is more like the global warming science (hoax) in that you develop a conclusion than find data that fits. Or in the case of global warming manufacture data that fits.

  9. Herb says:

    He might have a chance. New Yorkers have already proven their willingness to send any name brand politician to the Senate…

  10. James Joyner says:

    Since he is used to making decisions, he would be ineffective as a legislator. I just do not follow the logic there. My education in political science is circa 1965 but still, I believe legislators make decisions all of the time.

    As mayor, he called the shots. He alone decided the big executive matters after consulting with advisors.

    As a Senator, he would be one of a hundred. And as a junior Senator — almost certainly in the minority party — he’d have less say than most.

  11. anjin-san says:

    As mayor, he called the shots.

    Let’s not forget the autocratic nature of his personality. He just does not strike me as a team player.

  12. Our Paul says:

    My own view, reached only after deep thought and analysis of all available facts, plus a period of fasting, meditation and prayer is…

    Money, which America’s Mayor has a craving for.

    With his long time bud ex-Police Commish Bernard Kerik and known wanna be Secretary of Homeland Security off to jail, Giuliani’s judgment, and by extension his consultation business took a big hit. What better way to raise his profile as a “consultant” than to say: “Hey mon, I am politically relevant, a potential Presidential candidate!!!”

    As for this:

    He’d be better off going the Newt Gingrich route and simply establishing himself as a Republican Wise Man…

    I will step forward and point out that coupling of Republican with Wise Man is approaching the dreaded oxymoron…

  13. gustopher says:

    Unless he suddenly becomes a social conservative, I don’t see a successful pursuit of the Republican Presidential nomination in the cards for him.

    And even if he manages that, there are enough skeletons in his closet that he would be torn apart in the general election.

    However, as the most “liberal” Republican in the Senate, he could take Olympia Snowe’s spot as most relevant Republican Senator, always teasing as compromise but never actually doing so.

  14. Paul:

    Isn’t oxymoron the opiate Rush Limbaugh was using?

  15. Franklin says:

    He was a good mayor, period. Or at the very least, he was exactly what NYC needed at the time. And I say this as a slightly left-leaning moderate. He was good even if one forgets his leadership on and after 9/11 (which no one does, thanks to his campaign). But I’m not sure the same mentality applies to running a country effectively, whether it is Senator or President.

    My biggest problem with him is his positions on foreign policy – just the regular hawkish nonsense that got us into all of our current messes. I don’t mind a little good cop, bad cop routine from our leadership, but we’ve had enough bad cop idiocy to last us a decade or two.

  16. anjin-san says:

    I echo Frankiln’s comment that Giuliani was a good mayor, I spent a lot of time in NYC during his tenure, and he did a lot for the city.

    Perhaps the stature he gained after 9.11 went to his head, or possibly the national stage was just too big for him. At any rate, it is pretty hard to take him seriously any more.