Giuliani has led South Carolina polls for months, while McCain is running third.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) — When Beaufort, South Carolina Mayor Bill Rauch was press secretary and adviser to former New York City Mayor Ed Koch in the 1980s, he didn't think 20-plus years later he would end up running a small coastal town about 40 miles from the Georgia border.
Rauch also probably never thought one of Koch's eventual archrivals, another former New York City Mayor named Rudy Giuliani, would one day run for president.
Now, as a small town mayor and supporter of Sen. John McCain in a state that will help determine the Republican presidential nomination, Rauch has a minor voice in politics here. And like his former boss Koch, he still doesn't like Giuliani very much.
"I know Giuliani will fold up like a dove who got hit with buckshot in a dove hunt," Rauch said in a phone interview. "I don't worry about Giuliani at all in terms of winning. He's not going to win."
Giuliani and former Sen. Fred Thompson are currently battling for first place in most polls in South Carolina. McCain, once the frontrunner, is now in third.
Rauch's former boss Koch famously wrote a book in 1999 called "Giuliani: Nasty Man," attacking what he said was Giuliani's abrasive leadership style. Rauch believes South Carolinians don't yet know enough about Giuliani's career as New York mayor, and wants more people to read the book. He suggests that when they learn more, his poll numbers will slide.
"Once people get to know him he won't win," Rauch said. "To know him is to not trust him and to not particularly like him. The more you know him, the less you like him. This love affair with America's mayor around the country is in the early stages, and I don't believe that love affair is going to go on."
That said, Giuliani's reputation as "America's Mayor" has remained largely intact for almost six years, and much of his support in polls nationwide is arguably built on that name recognition. He has also maintained his lead in South Carolina polls for months, despite the fact that critics like Rauch have predicted he will falter as voters familiarize themselves with Giuliani's record.
There also happen to be more than a few New York City transplants in South Carolina who do support Giuliani's bid for the White House.
For instance, there's Joe Luzzi, a retired New York City police detective now living in Myrtle Beach working as a realtor and volunteer firefighter.
"As a former New York police officer, I've seen mayor Giuliani's leadership ability up close, and I'm positive that the more people get to know him in my new home state, the more they're going to support him," Luzzi said. "Rudy has the qualities South Carolinians are looking for in a president. After all, he's a fiscal conservative who has proven that he knows how to get things done."
— CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby