Pataki expects Giuliani to run, but won't rule out replacing him in New York Senate race
NEW YORK (CNN) -- New York Gov. George Pataki said Tuesday he would not rule out seeking the state Republican Party's nomination for the U.S. Senate should New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani drop out of the high-profile race to concentrate on the treatment of his recently diagnosed prostate cancer.
"I'm not ruling anything out," Pataki said Tuesday, when pressed by reporters in the state capital, Albany.
But the governor, now serving the second year of his second term, said he
thinks he'll probably stay in his current job.
"I love being governor," Pataki said.
Giuliani has been the presumptive Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by longtime legislator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Democrat. He has long been expected to face first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, who will be anointed the Democratic candidate at the state party's nominating convention two weeks from Tuesday in Albany.
"I believe Mayor Giuliani is going to run. I have every confidence he will find that his recovery will be quick and complete and that he will continue the race for Senate," Pataki said Tuesday. "The mayor has a positive prognosis. I don't believe he will find there is any impediment to his candidacy," he said.
"I think he's earned the right to be the senator. He's done a great job
for New York city. He will fight for all of New York state. And I am hopeful
he will be the candidate," Pataki said.
Pataki's comments followed his announcement of the addition of 46-acres to the state's Pine Bush nature preserve.
Giuliani has promised to decide within two weeks whether he will continue his Senate campaign, after he and his doctors determine what type of medical treatment he should receive.
New York Republicans will select their Senate candidate at their May 30 state convention in Buffalo.
Should Giuliani drop out, Pataki would be the best known and best equipped Republican to replace him. Another possible candidate would Rep. Rick Lazio, who represents a Long Island congressional district in Congress. Pataki asked Lazio to set aside his Senate ambitions last August when the governor endorsed Giuliani for the race.
Meanwhile, Giuliani Campaign Manager Bruce Teitelbaum named Brendan Quinn,
currently executive director of the State Republican Committee, as director of
the mayor's campaign field operations.
"This official announcement represents our important investment that this
campaign is making in the future," Teitelbaum said.
Speculation on that future began last Thursday when Giuliani announced he prostate cancer.
"The mayor told me last Thursday I should continue full speed ahead with
our campaign plan," Teitelbaum said.