Andrew Giuliani Nods to Trump, Wants N.Y. to Be ‘National Race’

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Andrew Giuliani is embracing his familiar last name and ties to former President Donald Trump as he begins his Republican campaign for governor of New York, hoping those connections make him a national presence in the state race.

“They are a part of who I am, right? I mean I worked for four years for President Trump and I am my father’s son,” said Giuliani, whose father is former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. “For me, I think I’m just going to continue to push the policy platforms that I know will work for all New Yorkers whether or not you voted for Donald Trump, whether or not you voted for Rudy Giuliani or you didn’t.”

Andrew Giuliani Nods to Trump, Wants N.Y. to Be ‘National Race’

In an interview Thursday, Giuliani said he would take a page from both Rudy Giuliani’s and Trump’s playbooks, openly planning to drive the news cycle by drawing attention. Trump and the elder Giuliani, who became Trump’s personal lawyer, used outrageous remarks on social media or in person to drown out less provocative politicians.

“Whoever the Republican candidate is, they need to make sure that they are grabbing headlines, that they are pushing over the next 18 months,” Giuliani said. On fundraising he added: “That’s one advantage that I’ll truly be able to bring to this race: We’ll be able to make this a national race and truly be able to fundraise not just in the 62 counties of New York, but in the 50 states of America.”

The younger Giuliani hasn’t held public office and joins an ever-growing field of GOP candidates vying for New York’s top spot. He said his views are “very very similar” to Trump’s on issues like the economy, school choice and protecting police. And while he worked an aide in the Trump White House, he will not be the only candidate with ties to the former president.

GOP Field

U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin and Rob Astorino, who was the GOP’s nominee in 2014, are both strong Trump supporters. Most of the potential Republican contenders also have longer records in politics than Giuliani.

Zeldin, who announced a series of congressional endorsements on Thursday, has tried to consolidate support early. He has gained the backing of more than half of the state’s Republican county party chairs, as well as an endorsement from former Trump secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Other possible candidates like county executives Marc Molinaro, who was the 2018 GOP gubernatorial nominee, and Joel Giambra, have long political histories in the state. Giuliani said he has spoken with Astorino and Zeldin and said the Republican candidates made an informal pledge not to attack each other -- but Giuliani was quick to add that if a rhetorical punch is thrown, he will fight back.

Read More: New York Republicans See 2022 Opportunity in Cuomo Scandal

Before he worked in the White House, Giuliani pursued a career as a professional golfer. He had been kicked off the Duke University golf team for behavioral infractions and sued to be reinstated, but the suit was dismissed.

When he announced his intentions to run for governor, Giuliani said he wasn’t vaccinated against Covid-19 and hasn’t decided if he would get the vaccine. New York was one of the hardest-hit states, at one point having the most Covid cases per capita in the world.

The crowded field could complicate Republicans’ hopes for winning back New York’s Executive Mansion at a time when Governor Andrew Cuomo is under increased scrutiny. He is facing investigations for allegedly undercounting Covid-19 nursing home deaths, multiple claims of sexual harassment and misconduct, and using state funds to write his $5 million leadership book during the pandemic. Cuomo has denied the allegations.

Giuliani said he is “very very worried” about the allegations of misconduct against Cuomo, particularly ones pertaining to nursing home deaths. On the sexual misconduct allegations, Giuliani said if the allegations prove true, they would “absolutely” disqualify the current governor from holding office. He didn’t comment on sexual harassment allegations against Trump but said he believes people are innocent until proven guilty.

Yet the size of a boost that Giuliani might gain from either his father or his former boss in the White House is unclear, given that Democrats hold a super majority of both chambers of the state legislature, and a Republican hasn’t held the governor’s office since 2002.

1990s Throwback

State GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy said in a statement that New York is “in need of the type of overhaul that the Giuliani Administration ushered in during the 1990s,” but Rudy Giuliani’s popularity waned in recent years and now he is mired in legal trouble.

The FBI is investigating whether the elder Giuliani broke lobbying laws while serving as Trump’s personal lawyer. He has not been charged with any crimes and has maintained his innocence. He is also being sued by House Democrats for allegedly inciting the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

Trump is less popular among Republicans in New York than he is around the country. A mid-April Siena College poll found only 33% of New Yorkers viewed the former president favorably, compared to 64% who viewed him unfavorably. In the 2020 general election, President Joe Biden won New York state’s popular vote by a margin of 60% to 38% over Trump, compared to 51% to 47% nationally.

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