Giuliani's Cancer Crisis: Can He Still Fight Hillary for a Senate Seat? Will He?

Article excerpt

The first hint that something was wrong came Wednesday morning, when New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was spotted walking briskly into Mount Sinai Medical Center for a visit that wasn't listed on his official schedule. Caught in the act by a lucky reporter, Giuliani confirmed that he had gone for tests but didn't say what the tests were for. City hall and Mount Sinai fended off the media until Giuliani, confronted by rampant speculation about the state of his health, was forced to admit he had just been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The good news, he said, was that the disease had been detected at a "very, very early stage" and that doctors had several treatment options for "a complete cure."

The bad news, for the state and national GOP, was that Giuliani couldn't say whether he would be able to run for the Senate against Hillary Rodham Clinton. The race, a dead heat in statewide polls, is already shaping up as a classic--a tough, high-spending contest between two formidable political personalities. Although he has raised nearly $20 million so far, Giuliani still hasn't officially declared his candidacy and, according to some critics, has yet to show that he is willing to campaign as hard as Clinton. Now that he is faced with an undeniably serious health concern, the theory went, Giuliani may drop out. And even if he doesn't, the aura of uncertainty could hamper fund-raising and unsettle party leaders around the state. "This makes Republicans very nervous," said Mickey Blum, a New York City pollster. "It freezes them--they can't do anything. …