Giuliani still mulling a presidential run

Sarah Palin isn’t the only Republican keeping primary voters guessing.  The one-time frontrunner for the 2008 GOP nomination may still decide to throw his hat in the ring in the 2012 cycle — and that will be bad for another recently-deposed frontrunner:

Giuliani says he’s seriously eyeing another run for the nomination despite the spectacular failure last time. He’s critical of President Barack Obama, saying the Democrat has made a faltering economy even worse.

Giuliani would focus mainly on winning New Hampshire, a state whose Republicans are more moderate than those in Iowa and where independents can vote in the primary. The issue environment has vastly changed since 2008, and Giuliani insists he’s got the credentials voters are seeking.

“I wouldn’t de-emphasize (national security) but right now you have to talk about what people are concerned about, and what they’re concerned about is the economy,” Giuliani said. “I do have the economic credentials. I ran one of the most complicated economies in the United States and one that was in terrible trouble. And I turned it around.”

Like Palin, Giuliani thinks he still has time to pull the trigger on a campaign:

Giuliani said he wouldn’t make a final decision until well after the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, probably the end of September. Several other top contenders, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are already campaigning for the nomination.

“I’m going to sit down and talk it over with Judith, wake up one morning and have a decision,” Giuliani said. “Part if it will be how the other candidates perform and whether I have confidence one of them can beat President Obama. I’m not sure of it yet.”

I’m not so sure that either are correct about that.  Mitt Romney has a ton of money on hand and a proven ability to raise funds.  Rick Perry has already launched an impressive bundler network, so much so that the Center for Public Integrity has cast a worried eye on it.  By this time, the extant campaigns will have hired most of the available talent in the early primary states, both to help themselves and deny their opponents any advantage.  Palin could overcome that with her legion of followers, but Giuliani has no such advantage.  In 2008 he waited too late in the primary cycle to fight for a state, and in this cycle he appears to be making a different kind of mistake in delaying an entry, if he really does want to run again.

Assuming he runs, the obvious target is New Hampshire, with or without Giuliani’s acknowledgment.  He tried waiting until Florida in 2008 when he had more support in the national polls and it turned into a disaster.  Giuliani’s moderate social positions won’t allow him a chance to win in Iowa or in South Carolina, so neighboring New Hampshire is his only path to competitiveness.  That puts him on a collision course with Romney, though, who also needs the state to stay in the running.  Until now, Romney has had the advantage of having all of his credible competition to his right in New Hampshire and selling himself as a reasonable alternative.  If Giuliani jumps into the race, the two candidates will have to fight for the same subset of voters — and that could allow a surging Perry to steal the Granite State from both East Coasters and seal up the nomination very early in the cycle, especially with South Carolina on the horizon.

That’s not Romney’s only worry, nor Giuliani’s.  Perry has begun to make inroads in New York, Capitol Tonight reported yesterday, quietly building a network that could eat into Romney’s contributor network:

My GOP source explained that Romney, thanks to his 2008 run and tenure as governor in neighboring Massachusetts, is considered a strong frontrunner in New York – particularly with ex-Gov. George Pataki out of the race (if anyone really considered backing him) and Giuliani pushing off a decision until the end of this month.

Perry is unknown to many New York GOP operatives and county chairs, but he’s starting to make some inroads here.

He already has some WNY backers, including former Sens. Mary Lou Rath and Dale Volker. The governor also keynoted the NYC GOP’s Lincoln Day dinner back in June, filling in for Donald Trump after the developer decided to take a pass on 2012.

Trump is now saying very nice things about Perry, and has reportedly been chatting with him on the phone. Getting support from The Donald, who hasn’t completely shut the door on an independent White House run, is a top priority for a number of the GOP presidential contenders – including Romney, too.

Don’t expect big things from Perry in New York, especially if Giuliani does enter the race, but don’t expect nothing from him there, either.