Giuliani To Skip Senate Race, Back Lazio For Governor

For much of the year, the question about former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani's political plans was which office would he seek in 2010 — governor, taking on either embattled Democratic incumbent David Paterson or, as many suspect, state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo? Or for the Senate seat now held by Democratic appointee Kirsten Gillibrand?

Neither was an ideal choice for Giuliani, who won national acclaim for his stewardship of the city in the hours after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but who ran by all accounts a disastrous 2008 bid to become President of Florida.

The word on Giuliani has always been that he would prefer being governor. It more suits his administrative skills. And if it were just Paterson standing in his way, he might go the gov. route. But the feeling is — one shared by me — is that the Democratic nominee is going to be not Paterson but Cuomo, whose polling numbers indicate that he would be extremely tough to beat, either in a Dem primary or in the general election.

I wrote last month about how Giuliani was shying away from a gov run.

Now it looks like he won't be running for the Senate either. Although polls show him with a fairly comfortable lead over Gillibrand, the New York Daily News' David Saltonstall reports that Rudy is expected to announce today that the Senate is not in his future either, a decision that will be "effectively ending his storied - and often stormy - electoral career":

The announcement, at which he'll also endorse Republican Rick Lazio for governor, marks the end of a year-long political dance by Giuliani, who mulled bids for governor and then Senate before backing away from both.

He had reason to weigh each run: surveys showed him a clear favorite to win primaries for either office, and as recently as last week a poll showed Giuliani crushing freshman Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand by 10 points.

But the former mayor has decided to stay in the private sector, where he will continue his work as a security consultant, a sometimes TV commentator and, increasingly, a celebrity draw on the GOP fund-raising circuit. ...

Giuliani's decision to endorse Lazio - whom Giuliani famously big-footed when he chose to run for Senate in 2000, only to see Lazio replace him on the ballot after dropping out to battle prostate cancer - is the start of his push to help other GOPers, insiders said.

But it probably ends his electoral future. And, with no other big-name Republican on the horizon — forget reports that ex-Gov. George Pataki is considering running — it greatly increases the likelihood that Gillibrand will win a full term next year. (She was appointed by Paterson after Hillary Clinton left to become secretary of state.)

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