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.
The 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.