The New York Daily News is reporting that Rudy Giuliani will not run for governor of New York, but instead will run for Senate in 2010 with ultimate designs on running for President in 2012.
Let’s take those issues one at a time. Polls have shown Giuliani performing better in a hypothetical matchup with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand than against the likely Democratic nominee for governor, Andrew Cuomo. So in that sense, it isn’t surprising to me that he may choose to run for Senate instead. However, let’s keep in mind that over the course of his bid for the 2008 Republican nomination, Giuliani moved to the right in an attempt to appease conservatives. While he remained pro-choice, for instance, he still moved against federal funding for abortion (a very hot topic right now), pledged to appoint conservative judges, and said that overturning Roe v. Wade would be okay. Such positions –as well as plenty of statements to conservatives over the course of the campaign — would be very difficult to overcome running for Senate in an overwhelmingly Democratic state. While polls don’t reflect it now, Giuliani may actually have a better shot running for governor, a position for which he can run on executive competence, then running for Senate — on which he will get hammered on how he would vote on national issues.
As for running for president in 2012, that wouldn’t make any sense to me. Even if he were to win the Senate seat, the battle for the Republican nomination would begin the morning after. After repositioning himself as a moderate once again to win in New York, Giuliani would then have to instantly turn around again to court the conservative base. And throughout 2011 — theoretically his first year in office — his potential rivals would be hunkering down in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. If he joins them, he’ll recieve a heap of criticism back home, and yet if he doesn’t, he’d have no realistic chance of competing. And without much of a voting record to reassure conservatives who rejected him in 2008, there’s no reason to think he’d make the sale in 2012.
I’ll wait to see if there’s any official announcement from Rudy on the Senate race, but I think he faces an uphill battle.
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