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Rudy Giuliani for Senate? He'd make a big race bigger.

Rudy Giuliani, former New York mayor and a Republican, is said to be weighing a Senate bid. Will his mayoral credentials help or hurt him?

By Ron SchererStaff writer / November 20, 2009

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks at the United Nations in New York September 24.

Patrick Andrade/Reuters/File

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New York

The US Senate is full of mavericks: John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Bernie Sanders. So, why not add one more: Rudy Giuliani?

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Mr. Giuliani, the former mayor of the Big Apple and a Republican, is reported to be close to declaring himself a candidate to be the junior senator from New York.

If the feisty Giuliani decides to run, the national spotlight will shift to the state the same way it did when Hillary Rodham Clinton decided to run for US Senate from New York. A Giuliani candidacy would be sure to generate massive fundraising from both sides – the Democrats desperate to hold onto a seat currently held by their own Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and the Republicans smelling another way to chip away at the Obama advantage.

“This race is big because it’s New York and bigger because it’s Rudy,” says John Zogby of the Zogby International polling firm in Utica, N.Y.

Giuliani is best known for helping to pull New York through the shock of the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11. Almost every night he was on the national news, telling the world the city was tough, would survive, and could use their help. Soon after 9/11, he was termed “America’s mayor.”

But Giuliani would also have to dust off his campaign shoes. The last time he was elected to office – the mayor of New York – was 1997. In 2000, he started to run against Mrs. Clinton for the US Senate seat here but withdrew for medical reasons. Then, in 2006, Guiliani started a presidential campaign that made major mistakes: He skipped campaigning in Iowa and hardly campaigned in New Hampshire and South Carolina. He dropped out of the race.