Sources: Rudy Will Back Mondello, Even as Cox Claims to Pass 50 Percent

ALBANY—Joe Mondello will announce he has the support of Rudy Giuliani in his campaign to remain as state chair of the Republican Party, Republican sources say.

A public announcement could come as soon as Monday, and follows a meeting Friday between the two men in Nassau County. Several county party chairs have received calls informing them of Mondello's intentions; his spokesman has said throughout volleys of criticism that he intends to run again.

"I don't think he should take the blame for the Spitzer- Obama tidal wave," Jasper Nolan, chairman of the Saratoga County Republican Committee, said of Mondello. Nolan remains a supporter.

It's unclear whether a Giuliani candidacy for statewide office is part of the deal. His spokeswoman did not return calls seeking comment.

Mondello's move comes after a week of open campaigning by Ed Cox, a Manhattan lawyer who is the son-in-law of Richard Nixon. Cox was endorsed Friday night by Assemblyman Bill Reilich, the Monroe County chair, at a dinner attended by some 600 people in Livingston County.  Cox's campaign issued a press release today saying this gives him the public endorsement of 50 percent of the weighted voters selecting the state chair.

I haven't heard anything from Henry Wojtaszek, the Niagara County chair who is also exploring a run for state chairman. He told Liz he was in the mix, but several Republican sources following the jockeying say he may back Mondello.

That decision will be made in September at a meeting of the Republican State Committee. Sources: Rudy Will Back Mondello, Even as Cox Claims to Pass 50 Percent