Rudy Clears the Wrong Field

82652513 Rudy Clears the Wrong FieldAs Rudy Giuliani slowly mulls a Senate bid, churns the rumor mill, and soaks in the positive poll numbers of an undeclared candidate who hasn’t held office in seven years,  conservatives are getting impatient.

Mike Long, for one, would like to have a conservative candidate sometime soon. The Conservative Party chairman thinks Kirsten Gillibrand is vulnerable, and the sooner he and Republicans settle on a candidate, the sooner they can start fundraising for a tough battle with an incumbent.

But what about Rudy?

Mr. Giuliani is capable of short-circuiting the run of any other Republican simply by declaring his own candidacy, so the longer he dithers, the less chance any other Republican has of establishing him or herself.

In fact, it’s beginning to feel a lot like 2000, when Republicans waited until May to find out that Mr. Giuliani wouldn’t run against Hillary Clinton, leaving them with Congressman Rick Lazio, whose unconventional campaign methods contributed to a 12-point loss.

This year, Republicans would be lucky to have a sitting congressman in reserve. As it stands, in the likely event Mr. Giuliani decides once again not to run, Mr. Long is looking at Port Authority Commissioner and former Nassau County legislator Bruce Blakeman, who lost a comptroller bid in 1998, or Larchmont Mayor Liz Feld, who lost a State Senate race to Suzie Oppenheimer last year. Or maybe Mike Balboni, who left the State Senate to join the Spitzer administration.