N.Y.C. Mayor Crosses Party Line to Endorse Gov. Cuomo
New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani broke Republican ranks Monday and endorsed Democratic Gov. Mario M. Cuomo for a fourth term in office. Giuliani said he will campaign and appear in commercials for Cuomo.
While the move might boost the governor’s uphill campaign, it certainly will earn Giuliani the enmity of both the Republican gubernatorial nominee, state Sen. George Pataki, and Pataki’s principal patron, Sen. Alfonse M. D’Amato.
“This is the right thing for the city,” Giuliani said. “I think most people in the city will respect me for my independence and honesty, and some people will disagree.”
Pataki responded in a frosty single-sentence statement. “I will do a great job as governor of New York State and Rudy Giuliani is doing a great job as mayor of New York City.”
Cuomo said: “He (Giuliani) knows the importance of his political position to himself and to his party. He also knows what comes first is his ability to help the people he is sworn to serve.”
Giuliani is known to have a strained relationship with D’Amato but is friendly with Cuomo. Even before formally offering his support, Giuliani signaled that friendship by marching in the city’s Columbus Day parade with Cuomo instead of Pataki.
Giuliani said he had previously announced he would support Democrats if he thought they were better for the city and that in the current campaign he had supported mostly Republicans.
The mayor earlier in the day had said he planned to talk with New Yorkers about sacrifices necessary to close the city’s budget gap, estimated at $1 billion. Instead, he turned to politics, striking at Pataki’s tax cut promises.
“There is something strange here,” Giuliani said. “The Pataki campaign wants to increase spending and decrease taxes as well, and that is a risky proposition.”
Polls show Cuomo trailing Pataki but still within striking distance.
The stakes are high not only for Pataki but also for D’Amato, who picked Pataki to run for the GOP nomination and has lent him key staff members. A victory would enable D’Amato to emerge as the clear leader of New York State’s fractious Republican Party and the power behind the state’s chief executive.