While Mayor Michael Bloomberg decided to stay out of the mayor's race, a former mayor's fingerprints are all over Joseph Lhota's campaign. In the general election, will Rudolph Giuliani be an asset or a handicap for Lhota? Political reporter Courtney Gross filed the following report.
When Joseph Lhota walked on stage Tuesday night, Rudolph Giuliani was not behind him.
Campaign staffers said the former mayor was traveling, but that wasn't exactly true.
"Rudy Giuliani was at the victory party on Tuesday night," Lhota said. "I spent a lot of time with him in my personal room, looking at the numbers coming in."
The Giuliani legacy is chasing Lhota on the campaign trail.
"You know, if the Giuliani staffers were looking for jobs, they'd be in my campaign," Lhota said in a debate Sunday. "There's only one person who worked in my campaign who had worked in the Giuliani administration before."
But the Giuliani inner circle is there, just behind the scenes.
A review of the campaign's records show that there are at least eight consultants for Lhota who worked for Giuliani's mayoral bids, at City Hall or on his presidential run.
There are fundraisers and a research firm. His closest adviser is a Giuliani confidant. His campaign lawyer, Robert Harding, oversaw economic development.
Members of the Giuliani City Hall have raised more than $100,000 for Lhota.
"It's no surprise that people who worked with Joe, served together in a successful administration, would be supporting Joe's candidacy now," said former Deputy Mayor Randy Mastro.
It could prove problematic in the general election, as Lhota tries to appeal to a wider range of voters, including Democrats, who may not find a Giuliani endorsement appealing.
"I think in private, they're an asset, but in public, they're a problem," said Kenneth Sherill of Hunter College. "So I think that he's going to be working with people strategically behind the scenes, and publicly, keeping his distance."
A spokeswoman for the Lhota campaign said that the former mayor himself will continue to play a key role, and New Yorkers should expect to see him on the campaign trail. But as a footnote, she added that the campaign is in the process of hiring some Democrats to prepare for the general election.