Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rudy out of the running: What it means for G.O.P.

By Dan Janison

For the second campaign cycle in a row, ex-mayor Rudy Giuliani won't make it to a statewide New York ballot. In 2008, the Republicans had hoped he'd pull up their state Senate candidates and forestall the fate that befell them -- loss of the house majority for the first time in four decades. This time, he was rumored first to be a candidate for governor, next as a candidate for U.S. Senate. But for reasons that in the end can only be known only to the man himself, Giuliani will forego the whole 2010 scene.

The speculation all along has been that he had no real reason to sacrifice the money and freedom from personal intrusions that the private sector offers him. All the talk about a "stepping-stone" for 2012 might have been wishful thinking by his mostly suburban fan base; more likely, a loss at the polls in this blue state next year -- especially at the hands of Kirsten Gillibrand -- could mean an almost certain bar to such an ambition. Anyway, at no point did Giuliani, who sincerely exhorts others to "prepare relentlessly" for tasks in his speeches and books, appear to be studying up for a new role. Ed Cox became state party chairman despite his expressed desires to the contrary, which might also have told him that the people who make up the state organization weren't ready to simply invest their collective redemption in his efforts.

The upcoming season will surely be less of a tabloid opera without him -- buffa, seria, or otherwise.

On the Democratic side, this could reduce the more panicky rationale for an Andrew Cuomo candidacy for governor -- if it removes a major threat to that party's loyalists that the G.O.P. will win the Executive Mansion. Democratic operatives have for months seen Giuliani as unlikely to run for anything, and backers of Rick Lazio have given no hint of regarding Giuliani as anything other than benigh to their cause.