on Friday, Rudy Giuliani stood before reporters in Albany to make a closing pitch for his son’s gubernatorial campaign. “Give Andrew Giuliani the chance,” implored Elder Giuliani, who served as Donald Trump‘s personal lawyer in the final disastrous weeks of his White House tenure. “When we do that, we almost always succeed. We gave Ronald Reagan the chance—wow. We gave Donald Trump the chance—[and he] made America better than it’s been in 50 years.”
This week, New York Republicans will pick their candidate for the New York governor’s race, a bid to reverse the GOP’s two-decade losing streak in statewide races. It’s been a bitter primary battle, with two top hopefuls: four-term US representative Lee Zeldin from Long Island, who is leading the race, according to recent polls, and Andrew Giuliani, Rudy’s 36-year-old son, who translated an attempted golf career into a job as the Trump administration’s “sports liaison.” Like many Republican primaries, both candidates’ campaigns have spent months trying to prove their Trumpworld bona fides—and attack each others’.
“This is a guy who a couple of years ago said that President Trump made racist statements.… Unfortunately, he’s going to flip and flop,” Andrew Giuliani said last week during the race’s final debate, hosted by pro-Trump network Newsmax, in reference to the time Zeldin said Trump’s infamous “Mexican” judge comment during the 2016 election was racist (but that he supported him anyway). In response, Zeldin accused Giuliani of “selectively” editing his remarks before attacking his supposedly no-show job in the Trump administration. “Listen, for someone whose claim to fame was that Chris Farley made fun of him on Saturday Night Live for being an obnoxious kid, who ends up becoming more obnoxious and getting kicked off the Duke golf team,” Zeldin said. “And then you basically get a position as the Chick-Fil-A runner at the White House outranked by the White House Easter egg bunny.”
That exchange encapsulated the closing pitches for both candidates, with Zeldin and Giuliani pimping their loyalty to Trump and his policies while insisting that the other does not love the former president enough. Trump has not issued an endorsement in the race, despite doing so in numerous primaries across the country. Zeldin, who voted to overturn the results of the 2020 election, received the blessing of former vice president Mike Pence on Wednesday. Andrew, meanwhile, has his father by his side by his side, who has been campaigning on behalf of his son across the state. (The Zeldin and Giuliani campaigns did not respond to requests for comment.)
“I think Trump wonders if he would help or hurt,” Rudy Giuliani said last week in a virtual press conference, attempting to explain away the former president’s seeming lack of interest in his son’s race. In November, Zeldin used a similar line when asked whether he plans to campaign with Trump, saying, “There are plenty of New Yorkers who love him, there are plenty of New Yorkers out there who don’t.”
Zeldin, who, per the latest polling data, currently leads Giuliani by more than six points, has embraced the national Republican Party’s issues du jour. On Friday, hey called the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. wade “a victory for life, for family, for the constitution, and for federalism.” Likewise, when the court struck down New York’s strict concealed carry law on Thursday, the congressman hailed it as a “proper and necessary victory for law-abiding citizens of New York, whose Second Amendment rights have been under constant attack.”
Giuliani has employed the “law and order” platform used two decades ago by his father, whom he calls “New Yorkers’ greatest crime fighter.” He reiterated this message on Sunday when Elder Giuliani was lightly slapped on the back by a man inside a Staten Island supermarket while campaigning for his son. “Innocent people are attacked in today’s New York all of the time,” the younger Giuliani said in a Sunday statement. “This particular incident hit very close to home. The assault on my father, America’s Mayor, was over politics.… As governors, I will stand up for law and order so that New Yorkers feel safe again.”