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N.Y.'s Giuliani Riding High

GOP mayor looks good in his re-election bid

By Jonathan Karl/CNN


NEW YORK (Sep. 8) -- If you were Rudy Giuliani, you'd be a pretty happy man about now.

In the midst of a re-election campaign, the Republican mayor of New York -- a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans by 5 to 1 -- boasts an approval rating of nearly 70 percent. He's also racked up endorsements from key Democratic leaders and more than 50 unions.

Giuliani advisor Frank Luntz says, "This is a new type of leader for a new generation of Americans, focused on the future, focused on problem solving, less involved in rhetoric and philosophy, more involved in getting the job done, day by day by day."

Not all Democrats are ready to cede another four years to Giuliani. The leading candidates to take on the mayor are councilman Sal Albanese, controversial civil-rights figure Al Sharpton and front-runner Ruth Messinger, the borough president of Manhattan.

"I believe the majority of New Yorkers want a mayor that knows what she's going to do in the next four years," says Messinger. "Education will be my number one priority."

Messinger attacked Giuliani with an ad showing kids studying in a bathroom next to urinals, but the scene didn't really exist; it was staged in a private school.

But in focusing on education, Messinger has targeted Giuliani where he is most vulnerable. But despite out-fund-raising her opponents 5 to 1, Messinger's campaign has failed to generate much excitement, leaving an opening for the others.

"The traditional Democratic party is weak," says Sharpton. "Unions, leaders have defected, editorial boards have defected. That's why [Giuliani] is only beatable by someone like me who can expand the voting base and come to the streets, to the people."

Both Sharpton and Messinger have criticized Giuliani for not taking stronger action against police brutality in light of the alleged police torture of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima.


But whoever wins the Democratic nod faces an uphill battle. Under Giuliani, crime is down, employment is up and even rank and file Democrats seem ready to vote for a Republican. "I doubt if we have a guy who can beat him," says one New Yorker playing chess in a city park.

Giuliani has another big advantage going into the election: money. His re-election campaign has already raised nearly $10 million, a New York City record and more than twice the money raised by all three Democratic hopefuls combined.

In Other News:

Monday Sept. 8, 1997

Gore Doesn't Plan To Testify Before Senate Hearings
Fowler Due To Testify Tuesday
N.Y.'s Giuliani Riding High
The Push For Testing

E-mail From Washington:
Paula Jones' Attorneys Ready To Withdraw

Susan McDougal's Father: Starr 'Lower Than A Worm' ...

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