Gi­u­liani nom­i­na­tion ex­pected to boost Repub­li­cans in North­east races

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By S.A. Miller

House Repub­li­cans see a 2008 ticket topped by for­mer New York Mayor Ru­dolph W. Gi­u­liani mak­ing con­gres­sional races in Demo­cratic strongholds of the North­east more com­pet­i­tive, im­prov­ing the party’s odds for pick­ing up the 16 seats to win back the ma­jor­ity.

The pop­u­lar­ity of the for­mer mayor — polls in the re­gion show Mr. Gi­u­liani neck and neck with Demo­cratic front-run­ner Sen. Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton of New York — prom­ises to put in play con­gres­sional races in New York, New Jer­sey, Con­necti­cut and Penn­syl­va­nia — dis­tricts that typ­i­cally vote Demo­crat.

“He would make it pos­si­ble to knock off [Demo­cratic] first-term mem­bers of Congress,” said Rep. Peter T. King, New York Repub­li­can, who has en­dorsed Mr. Gi­u­liani. “He would bring out a lot of Repub­li­can vot­ers and get a large num­ber of con­ser­va­tive Democrats and in­de­pen­dents.”

The out­look was shared through­out the ranks of House Repub­li­cans, but most de­clined to be iden­ti­fied in deference to the other can­di­dates for the nom­i­na­tion.

New Jer­sey Repub­li­can State Com­mit­tee Chair­man Tom Wil­son said Mr. Gi­u­liani is “as close to a fa­vorite son as there is” in the Gar­den State, and Penn­syl­va­nia Repub­li­can Party Chair­man Robert A. Glea­son Jr. called a Gi­u­liani ticket the “best-case sce­nario.”

“With Gi­u­liani at the top of the ticket, [Democrats] might lose con­trol of the House,” Mr. Glea­son said. “We be­lieve we [in Penn­syl­va­nia] could win back the four seats we lost [in 2006] and pos­si­bly pick up an­other one.”

Pro­po­nents of a “Gi­u­liani bounce” at blue-state polls say it could pro­pel chal­lenges to Democrats, in­clud­ing Reps. Kirsten Gil­li­brand and John Hall in New York, Christo­pher Car­ney and Paul E. Kan­jorski in Penn­syl­va­nia, Steven R. Roth­man in New Jer­sey and Christo­pher S. Mur­phy in Con­necti­cut.

Democrats dis­missed the po­ten­tial coat­tails of a Gi­u­liani nom­i­na­tion.

“There is no one the Repub­li­can Party can nom­i­nate that will dampen the strength of our can­di­dates down the bal­lot,” New York Demo­cratic Party spokesman Jonathan Rosen said. “We are con­fi­dent New York is trend­ing more Demo­cratic.”

A Ras­mussen Re­ports poll re­leased Nov. 1 showed Mr. Gi­u­liani lead­ing the Repub­li­can field with 24 per­cent of the vote, ahead of for­mer Sen. Fred Thompson of Ten­nessee’s 15 per­cent and Sen. John McCain of Ari­zona and for­mer Mas­sachusetts Gov. Mitt Rom­ney, both with 14 per­cent.

Mr. Gi­u­liani’s ri­vals for the nom­i­na­tion each of­fer an edge in other re­gions. For ex­am­ple, Mr. Rom­ney, a for­mer Mas­sachusetts gov­er­nor whose fa­ther was Michi­gan gov­er­nor in the 1960s, could help Repub­li­cans down the bal­lot in the Mid­west and New Eng­land.

“Gi­u­liani brings strength to a dif­fer­ent re­gion,” said a Repub­li­can Party po­lit­i­cal strate­gist, who did not want to be iden­ti­fied. “Right now on pa­per he looks the best for putting th­ese [North­east] ar­eas into play, but is he go­ing to play well in Ge­or­gia?”

The party is hop­ing for a po­lar­iz­ing elec­tion to drive heavy turnout and help win back House seats lost in Repub­li­can-lean­ing dis­tricts in 2006, the strate­gist said.

Repub­li­can David Cap­piello, who is chal­leng­ing Mr. Mur­phy in Con­necti­cut’s 5th Dis­trict, said he doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily think in po­lit­i­cal “coat­tails” but he is con­vinced Mr. Gi­u­liani would break Democrats’ lock on his state.

“With Gi­u­liani on the bal­lot, Con­necti­cut would be a state both par­ties would have to pay at­ten­tion to,” Mr. Cap­piello said. “He puts the state in play.”

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