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The BBC's Stephen Sackur
"The Mayor's troubles go beyond his health"
 real 28k

Friday, 19 May, 2000, 21:56 GMT 22:56 UK
Giuliani quits Senate race
Giuliani
Mr Giuliani says he wants to put his health first
New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has confirmed that he is pulling out of the state's race for the US Senate.

Mr Giuliani, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer three weeks ago, said: "I've decided that what I have to do is to put my health first. This is not the best time for me to run."



Politics is not as important in my life as I once thought it was

Rudolph Giuliani
The New York mayor's campaign has been dogged in recent weeks not only by health problems but also by the announcement that he is divorcing his wife of 16 years, Donna Hanover.

His withdrawal is likely to help First Lady Hillary Clinton, the Democrat candidate, in her attempt to win the New York Senate seat.

The Republican Party now has less than two weeks to find a replacement candidate before its state nominating convention on 30 May.


Hillary Clinton
The withdrawal of the Republican heavyweight looks set to help Hillary Clinton
Mr Giuliani was considered the Republican Party's best candidate to challenge the president's wife.

However Republican Rick Lazio wasted no time following Mr Giuliani's announcement, in throwing his hat into the ring.

Mr Lazio, from Long Island, is now in his fourth term in Congress. But the BBC's New York correspondent, Jane Hughes, says his political stature does not even approach that of Mr Giuliani.

'Health decision'

The New York mayor denied that his decision to quit the race had any connection with his failing marriage.

"This is not the reason for my decision. This decision is a health decision," he said.

Rick Lazio
Rick Lazio: Suddenly in the limelight

Donna Hanover, an actress and broadcaster, publicly accused her husband of having had an affair with a former City Hall aide.

Mr Giuliani denied that but has acknowledged a relationship with another woman, Judith Nathan.

Mr Giuliani said he had not yet decided what his course of cancer treatment would be, saying he had found the whole process of deciding his future much more difficult than he had first expected.

He added that he had made his decision on the Senate race only hours before the announcement.


You confront your limits, you confront your mortality, and you realise that you're not a superman

Rudolph Giuliani

"You confront your limits, you confront your mortality, and you realise that you're not a superman," he said.

Mr Giuliani vowed to work to be the best mayor he can in his remaining 18 months in office.

He is not allowed to stand for a third term as mayor.

Replacement

Republican leaders had previously indicated that their next choice to run for the Senate would be Mr Lazio.


Judith Nathan
Giuliani has acknowledged a relationship with Judith Nathan
Mr Giuliani said he would support whoever was chosen to replace him and revealed that he had called Mr Lazio by phone to pledge his backing if the representative was selected.

After his withdrawal, Mrs Clinton wished Mr Giuliani a speedy recovery.

"Today we all ought to just wish the mayor our very best and let him know that the people of the city are all behind him in this very difficult decision and wish him a speedy recovery," she said.

The first lady said she had spoken personally to the mayor soon after his announcement.

She refused to speculate about who her Republican opponent would be for the Senate seat.

"I am not going to assess anybody, we should wait to see what develops," she said.

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See also:

08 Jul 99 | Americas
Profile: Mayor Rudolph Giuliani
17 Jan 00 | Vote USA 2000
Hillary bites the Big Apple
27 Apr 00 | Americas
Giuliani diagnosed with cancer
08 Apr 00 | Americas
Hillary edges ahead in polls
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