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Giuliani remains undecided about N.Y. Senate race

May 18, 2000
Web posted at: 10:13 p.m. EDT (0213 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) --New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said Thursday that he underestimated the difficulty in choosing a treatment for his prostate cancer and that he needs more time to consider whether to continue his Senate bid against first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"I'm going to try to reach conclusions as soon as I can. I have no desire to carry this out any longer than I absolutely have to," Giuliani told a Manhattan audience Thursday night during a town-hall meeting broadcast on MSNBC.

The mayor, who revealed three weeks ago that he has early-stage prostate cancer, also is separating from his wife of 16 years amid reports he has been romantically involved with other women. As he meets with doctors and weighs his treatment options, Giuliani has offered no concrete hints on his Senate plans.

"When I first found out that I had prostate cancer ... I kind of approached it as if this was a big case, or a budget decision," said Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor. "This is a different kind of decision. It involves thinking about your life, mortality, the quality of your life. And the choices are more difficult than I thought they would be."

Acknowledging growing pressure from some state Republicans as well from anxious reporters, Giuliani said that he was obligated "to make sure that I make the right decision for myself and the people that are closest to me."

Giuliani's reported options for prostate cancer treatment include surgery, external beam radiation and radioactive seed implantation. He said that the decision-making process was "interrupted last week by other factors," referring to the media attention swirling around his impending marital separation.

Following is a timeline of the life and political career of New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani
1944: Born in the New York borough of Brooklyn.
1961: Graduated from Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Brooklyn
1965: Graduated from Manhattan College in the Bronx.
1968: Graduated magna cum laude from New York University Law School in Manhattan.
1970: Joined the office of the U.S. Attorney in New York.
1973: Named chief of the narcotics unit of the U.S. attorney's office in New York.
1975: Named associate deputy attorney general and later chief of staff to the deputy attorney general in Washington.
1977: Returned to New York to practice law at Patterson, Belknap, Webb and Tyler.
1981: Named associate attorney general.
1983: Appointed U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York; married Donna Hanover.
1989: Ran for mayor of New York and lost.
1993: Ran for mayor of New York and won.
1997: Elected to second term as mayor.

Amid the speculation, Giuliani's Senate campaign has continued its all-out effort to win the seat, adding to his impressive war chest of $19 million in recent weeks, and continuing to launch salvos at Clinton's campaign.

The Giuliani Senate campaign criticized the first lady for failing to vote Wednesday on the Chappaqua, New York, school budget. Mrs. Clinton moved to the Westchester County suburb of New York City in January to meet state residency requirements for the Senate race.

"This was Mrs. Clinton's first chance to act like a real New Yorker and she failed," the Giuliani campaign said in a statement on Thursday.

The first lady, who received the state Democratic convention's nod as the nominee on Tuesday, has refused to comment or speculate on whether Giuliani will run.

She again avoided reporters' questions about the New York mayor Thursday during an appearance in Manhattan to receive the endorsement of Teamsters Local 237, the largest union local in the country with 24,000 members.

Some Republicans growing impatient with Giuliani

The mayor has promised to make his decision a week before the GOP state convention on May 30, allowing Republicans an opportunity to find a replacement candidate if he drops out. Despite such assurances, some state GOP leaders have clearly grown impatient with Giuliani.

"We need to know and we need to know now whether the mayor is in or whether the mayor is out," said Jim Cavanaugh, chairman of the Westchester County GOP.

"If he pulls out now, he's going to leave a bad taste. He's going to be accused of leaving the Republican Party in the lurch and he's going to bear responsibility if we don't beat Hillary Clinton," he said.

U.S. Reps. Rick Lazio of Long Island and Peter King of Massapequa Park have been mentioned as possible Republican candidates. New York Gov. George Pataki was also mentioned as a replacement candidate, but strongly signaled this week that he plans to run for a third term as the state's chief executive.

A number of state Republican leaders, including Pataki, are reportedly turning toward Lazio as the next-best candidate to challenge Mrs. Clinton if Giuliani drops out. However, speculation over such a scenario has dwindled in recent days.

Michael Long, the head of New York's Conservative Party, said Wednesday that "it looks more and more" like Giuliani will indeed run for the Senate seat. He said his opinion was based on conversations with state Republican leaders.

Giuliani remains at odds with the Conservative Party over his support of abortion rights, as well as his closeness with the Liberal Party, a small party that has traditionally played a vocal role in New York City politics.

The Conservative Party on Wednesday hosted a fund-raising dinner in Manhattan, attended by Gov. Pataki and Rep. Lazio. Giuliani was not invited. "He's never been endorsed by the Conservative Party," said Long, explaining Giuliani's exclusion. "He goes to the Liberal Party's dinners."

Among the featured speakers at the dinner was former Rep. Joseph DioGuardi, a Westchester county Republican who is courting the Conservative Party's backing for his own Senate run.

New Yorkers remain split between candidates

The future of Giuliani's Senate campaign has been in doubt since the mayor's April 27 announcement that he had prostate cancer, closely followed by the news of the mayor's marital problems.

Giuliani disclosed earlier this month that he was seeking a legal separation from his wife, Donna Hanover. The mayor announced his intentions after details were revealed of his relationship with another woman, Judith Nathan.

Stung by the revelation, Hanover held her own news conference later that same day and accused Giuliani of having had a relationship for several years with his former communications director, Christyne Lategano.

Despite the revelations about the mayor's personal life, a poll released this week indicated that Giuliani and Clinton remained virtually deadlocked in the Senate race. The survey conducted by the Quinnipiac College Polling Institute indicated that likely New York voters favored Clinton by 44 percent to Giuliani's 43 percent -- a statistical tie. DioGuardi polled far behind at 5 percent.

Both candidates are seeking the seat currently held by retiring Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who has served in the Senate for some 25 years. Unlike Mrs. Clinton, Giuliani has yet to officially declare his candidacy.

CNN's Phil Hirschkorn, Frank Buckley, The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 
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