News & Politics

Here’s Why Giuliani’s Bugging Out of 2010: He Couldn’t Win


After months of vacillation and some tantalizing late rumors, it appears Rudolph Giuliani isn’t going to run for the Statehouse or the Senate next year. He’s expected to endorse Rick Lazio for the Senatorial nomination instead.

Hot Air, among others, is bummed. “You’re never going to get an environment better suited for a GOP pick-up in New York than next year… A Rudy win would have given the party a foothold again in the northeast and a voice with a Senate megaphone to challenge Obama on detainee issues, for starters… All that, up in smoke.”

They say it like it’s inexplicable. Why wouldn’t he take on Kirsten Gillibrand? She’s a neophyte, and he’s America’s Mayor. A recent poll shows him up on her by ten points.

If you think about it for a minute, though, Giuliani had good reason to believe that if he ran against Gillibrand, he’d lose.

Giuliani had been considered the front-runner in the 2010 Senate race. But he was the front-runner for the GOP Presidential nomination as late as November of 2007, and look what happened — and how quickly.

Part of that collapse was campaign mechanics, but part of it was that Republicans nationwide got a close look at him and found what the rest of us have known for years: Rudolph Giuliani is a difficult man to like. Without a perceived crisis such as the civic disorder that put Giuliani in the mayor’s office, the snarling former prosecutor is a hard sell.

(Right-wingers do think there’s a crisis in Washington, but they’re not about to send to correct it a candidate weak on the social issues that mean so much to them.)

Gillibrand’s got big “don’t know” numbers, but she’s a nice-looking suburban mom with a soothing manner and a family-friendly record, and her operatives can be counted on to fill in the blanks with rainbows and puppies — and, where needed, reminders that with two years as a Congresswoman and, as of next month, a year in the Senate, she has plenty of national legislative experience, and Giuliani has none.

Plus the Obama White House has got Gillibrand’s back to an extraordinary degree — far more than it had the backs of 2009 losers Jon Corzine and Creigh Deeds — as shown by the way they egregiously muscled out her early opponents for the 2010 nomination. She’s been racking up endorsements to beat the band. And she’s got Chuck Schumer as both adviser and enforcer.

If Gillibrand looks weak now, it’s only because she hasn’t had to bust out the ammo yet. But she has plenty and Giuliani knew it. Rather than face yet another high-profile defeat, he is better advised to continue earning millions in the private sector and wait for the national political situation to become sufficiently desperate that he’d stand a chance.


Archive Highlights