Sensing Albany is about to spontaneously combust, former mayor Rudy Giuliani is mulling whether he should be the guy to put out the flames.
More than a year after completing his catastrophic presidential run, Giuliani and those close to him seem to believe that public fury over New York state politics has opened the door to the governor's mansion for a member of the GOP.
Giuliani has told associates that he will make a decision on running for governor within 30 to 60 days as he considers if he could actually win a statewide election and, if he did, how it would affect his business interests, according to a published report.
The former mayor has already taken preliminary steps to beginning a campaign. Last week, he went to Long Island to ask state GOP chairman Joseph Mondello to resign -- a move that Republican insiders perceived as his most tangible step toward a run so far, reports The New York Times.
Three days after Giuliani's visit, Mondello announced his intention to step down -- and Giuliani's people ambushed the phones to generate support for their choice replacement -- longtime Rudy supporter and Niagara County GOP chairman Henry Wojtasek.
The 65-year-old has also criss-crossed the state in the last few weeks, meeting with local party leaders, giving speeches and even meeting with Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently to talk about a possible run, reports the Times.
While Giuliani declined the Times' request for an interview, people close to him told the paper Giuliani sees similarities between the climate in Albany now and that in New York City before he first got elected. Frustrated by the atmosphere of dysfunction in the city in the early 1990s, voters gave Rudy a chance to change things up.
Considering half of New York voters now think all state senators should be thrown out of the chamber, including their own, and Gov. David Paterson's approval numbers are below 20 percent, it appears the time is ripe for change yet again.
“Several times, he said to me that he sees state government similar to where New York City was in 1993: out of control,” Rep. Peter King, who met with Giuliani in Washington in July, told the Times. “So many people are saying the state can’t be governed, which is what everyone was saying about the city then. In Rudy’s mind, this is a challenge.”
King himself had been weighing a gubernatorial run, but said he wouldn't get into the race if Giuliani was the Republican candidate.
Why wouldn't Rudy run? Well, he'd have to give up the tens of thousands of dollars he earns per speaking commitment. And he'd have to back off his two lucrative businesses – consulting firm Giuliani Partners and Texas-based law firm Bracewell & Giuliani.
There's also the matter of who runs for governor on the Democratic ticket. Giuliani's aides have figured he'd have no problem handling Paterson -- a theory polls have supported.
But if Attorney General Andrew Cuomo runs and beats Paterson in the Democratic primary, he would make the gubernatorial race more challenging for Giuliani.
Republicans have been eager for Giuliani to declare his candidacy, seeing this as the opportune time and he the opportune candidate to reclaim the governorship.
While the former mayor says he'll make a decision sometime within the next two months, some GOP leaders think he's going to go for it.
“Watching him closely, when he hears me talking about how the people need him, that seems to be when his ears perk up,” former Staten Island borough president Guy Molinari told the Times. “I get the sense that if he felt that he’d be the one that could take on that task and turn things around up in Albany, he might consider running.”