Rudy's Loss, Romney's Gain - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Rudy’s Loss, Romney’s Gain

TAMPA, FL — Claudia LeFevre-Lowry lives here now, but from 1980 to 1994, she resided in Connecticut and remembers how scary it was to visit New York City before Rudy Giuliani was mayor. She thinks what Giuliani did to transform the city was “great,” and has a lot of affection for him. “I love Rudy, who doesn’t?” she says.

Brian Hughes of nearby Odessa attended New York University during the David Dinkins administration. Hughes recalls being harassed by squeegee men when entering the city in his commute from New Jersey, and being afraid to walk around Washington Square Park, near the NYU campus. He is convinced that Giuliani’s strong leadership changed the city. “It was like night and day,” he said of the difference once Giuliani took over.

LeFevre-Lowry and Hughes, in short, are the exact type of voters whose support Giuliani was banking on when he made Florida his firewall state–those with connections to the New York City metropolitan area who have fond memories of his time as mayor. But when I spoke to them this afternoon, Lefevre-Lowry said she would be voting for Mitt Romney in next Tuesday’s primary, and Hughes was leaning that way.

They both had different reasons.

“I think [Romney] is a man with a lot of integrity and he kind of emulates the Republican values,” Lefevre-Lowry said at a parking lot rally for Romney supporters that drew around 100 people.

This is is in sharp contrast to Giuliani. “I guess I’m really troubled by his personal history, and it is a sign of character, no matter what,” she said of the way he handled his second divorce.

Hughes, meanwhile, is still undecided, and at first blush, sounds like a Giuliani supporter.

He said that Giuliani is the most conservative on economic issues and that he could actually get his agenda accomplished, and is worried that Romney is too much of a “pragmatist.”

“He wouldn’t take crap from the terrorists, I’m certain he wouldn’t,” he says of Giuliani, but he described Romney as a “question mark” on the issue of terrorism.

Though he said Giuliani was a “basket case on social issues,” he trusted Giuliani’s pledge to appoint conservative judges, and isn’t so sure about Romney.

But in spite of everything, he’s afraid that Giuliani is no longer a viable candidate, so he’s leaning Romney. “Giuliani has done nothing, and I’m afraid that Giuliani, Huckabee and Romney are going to split the non-McCain vote, and McCain is going to walk away with it, which would be the worst thing.” He said McCain was far too liberal for him and he wants to prevent his nomination.

It’s certainly a small sample size, but with Giuliani sinking in several Florida polls, Hughes and LeFevre-Lowry may not be alone.

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