Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani expected to announce Tuesday he will not run for U.S. Senate

(Gold9472: He knows better. The 9/11 families would destroy him.)

By David Saltonstall
Originally Published:Monday, December 21st 2009, 6:29 PM

So long, Rudy.

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani is expected to announce Tuesday he is not running for U.S. Senate or anything else in 2010, effectively ending his storied - and often stormy - electoral career, The Daily News has learned.

The announcement, at which he'll also endorse Republican Rick Lazio for governor, marks the end of a year-long political dance by Giuliani, who mulled bids for governor and then Senate before backing away from both.

He had reason to weigh each run: surveys showed him a clear favorite to win primaries for either office, and as recently as last week a poll showed Giuliani crushing freshman Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand by 10 points.

But the former mayor has decided to stay in the private sector, where he will continue his work as a security consultant, a sometimes TV commentator and, increasingly, a celebrity draw on the GOP fund-raising circuit.

"Next year should be an interesting cycle for Republicans, and he sees it as an opportunity to engage in targeted races across the country," said a person familiar with Giuliani's plans.

Giuliani's decision to endorse Lazio - whom Giuliani famously big-footed when he chose to run for Senate in 2000, only to see Lazio replace him on the ballot after dropping out to battle prostate cancer - is the start of his push to help other GOPers, insiders said.

Ironically, however, Giuliani's decision not to run will almost certainly benefit the Democratic Gillibrand more than anyone.

The former mayor's step back all but assures that the freshman Gillibrand, appointed earlier this year by Gov. Paterson to fill Secretary of State Clinton's old seat, will not face any big-name GOPers.

"Her path is now cleared," enthused one Democratic operative.

Barring some major turn of events, the decision marks the end of an electoral future for the now 65-year-old ex-mayor, whose career in many ways helped to define New York over the last quarter century.

He leaves a legacy full of bright upsides and corresponding downsides.

As mayor, he drove down crime to historic lows, but often at the expense of race relations, and frequently with a style regarded by many as insular and bullyish.

He preached personal responsibility, then informed his wife - via press conference - that he was divorcing her.

"I have always said that he was a good mayor - just a terrible person," said former Mayor Ed Koch. "And by terrible person, I mean he didn't respect anyone else's opinion. But he delivered essential services."

Giuliani's fame grew exponentially in the days after 9/11, when he seemed to carry the city - and the nation - on his shoulders. The aura of that day propelled him to a run for the presidency, and for much of 2007 he was the Republican front-runner.

But GOP voters, put off by Giuliani's pro-choice, pro-gay rights background - as well as news stories alleging he had used NYPD cop cars as mayor to squire his then mistress and now wife, Judith, around town - paid him almost no mind once voting began.

Had Giuliani run for Senate, all his scandalous baggage - which includes his former top cop, Bernard Kerik, who last month pleaded guilty to accepting home renovations from a mobbed up contractor - would have been unpacked again.

Now he has other plans, friends said.

"Yeah, like enjoying his life," said one.