December 22nd, 2009
10:10 AM ET
11 months ago

Giuliani to back rival in NY gov. battle, forgo run of his own

(CNN) – It appears Rudy Giuliani is giving fellow Republican Rick Lazio an early Christmas gift.

The former two-term New York City mayor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate is scheduled to endorse Lazio for governor Tuesday afternoon at an event in New York City, according to a press release from the Lazio campaign. Lazio, a former congressman from Long Island, announced his candidacy for governor in September.

The New York Times and New York Daily News report that Giuliani will also announce he's decided to forgo a bid for the U.S. senate next year.

Giuliani's public endorsement of Lazio would be a formal declaration that he is not running for governor. The New York Times reported last month that he had decided not to run, but a spokeswoman for Giuliani said he had not made up his mind. At the time, polls indicated that Giuliani had a wide lead over Lazio in a hypothetical 2010 GOP primary contest.

Lazio deferred to Guiliani in 2000 in the race for the senate against then-first lady Hillary Clinton. Giuliani dropped out of the contest five months before the election, due to his fight against prostate cancer. Lazio replaced him as the Republican candidate but lost to Clinton.

Recent polls of New York State voters suggest the race between Lazio and Democratic Gov. David Paterson is deadlocked, but the surveys indicate that Lazio is way behind in a hypothetical general election match-up against New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who has stayed silent on whether he'll challenge Paterson in the Democratic primary.

There was speculation that if Giuliani decided against a run for governor, he might consider making a bid for the Senate. Top New York Republicans reportedly urged Giuliani to run for the Senate next year.

Two recent polls indicated that Giuliani led Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand by double digits in a possible 2010 showdown. Gillibrand, a former congresswoman from upstate New York, was named Sen. Hillary Clinton's replacement after Clinton stepped down in January to become secretary of state.

CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: psteinhausercnn


Filed under: Rudy Giuliani
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. steveo

    probably because for once in his life, someone talked him into a line of thinking we here on planet Earth call "rationality". and that reality is his negatives are so high, they make sarah palin look like the santa claus.

    December 22, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  2. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Maybe Giuliani is understanding that he is too liberal with his social views for the Palin/Cheney/Tea bagger wing of the Republican party. He is being pushed out. His "pro-business - kill any and all regulation" perspective is the only thing keeping him connected and welcomed in the Republican party. He'll be pushed out if they keep sliding further.

    December 22, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  3. Beverly in NC

    Giuliani is just another arrogant self-serving Republican. If I were Lazio, a Giuilani endorsement is the last thing I would want. One negative Republican endorsing another is not news. The real news will be the landslide defeat of all do-notihng, negative, no solution, no leadership, no values, traitorous Republicans who have spent the entire year working AGAINST the American People and the recovery of our nation they destroyed.

    Good riddance to more anti-American Republicans who think it is funny to play political games with our lives. They won't be so arrogant when we use OUR NO VOTE to remove them from office.

    December 22, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
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