Giuliani Decides Against Attempting a Third Term

By Jeff McKay | July 7, 2008 | 8:28 PM EDT

New York ( - New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani says he has abandoned any thought of trying to get around term-limits to run for a third term.

It would just divide the city and tie up the election process in the courts, he said Wednesday, when he called the chairman of the New York State Conservative Party to decline the party's offer to placing the two-term mayor on their ticket.

"I called Mike (Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long) and told him I would not be a candidate on the Conservative line," said Giuliani during his daily press briefing.

"He thanked me for being supportive on the issue," said Long. "He thanked me, and I thanked him for everything he's been doing in this crisis," Long added.

While the New York Conservative Party already has a candidate for mayor, Terrance Gray said he would step aside and allow Giuliani to take his place on the ticket, with the blessing of Long.

Long had offered the spot on the Conservative ticket to Giuliani, despite the fact Giuliani is pro-choice Republican and no conservative. Many in New York City had urged Giuliani to run for another term, despite a state term-limits law enacted in 1993.

"If I were on the Conservative ballot it would lead to courtroom challenges," said Giuliani. "I truly appreciate the offer Mike (Long) made. We've had our share of differences in the past. But it would lead to division and litigation, and the city does not need division and litigation at this time."

While there have been calls to either remove the term limits law, or just suspend the law for one occasion to let Giuliani to run, in the end the support from the state legislature was not there.

In a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, New York State voters gave Giuliani a strong 90 percent approval rating, but they split 48-45 percent on whether state government should repeal term limits so he can run for another term as mayor.

New York City voters oppose repealing term limits 55-39 percent, and over 60 percent of those polled said the Twin Towers should be rebuilt.

"New Yorkers to Giuliani: Great job, Mr. Mayor. But they're split on whether to change the rules so the game can go into extra innings," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

While Giuliani said he would not try to change the city term limit law, he renewed his offer to stay in City Hall through March to allow the new mayor a longer transition period.

"People begged me to stay. And I know what that's about. They're afraid," Giuliani said Wednesday night on CNN's "Larry King Live."

"And I thought the best way to handle it is to extend the transition. Some people are against it, they're angry about it. I can't do it without them. If I could do it on my own, I would do it."

Mayoral candidate Fernando Ferrer refused Giuliani's offer to stay, while Mark Green, Ferrer's opponent in an Oct. 11 Democratic runoff, agreed to the plan. Michael Bloomberg, the Republican nominee, was the first to back Giuliani's transition plan.

However, due to Ferrer's opposition and the potential lack of votes needed in the State Legislature to get the plan approved, Giuliani left the door open to walk away when his term expires.

"I'm available to do the transition I offered to do. If people support it, fine," said Giuliani. "If anyone thinks they're ready to take over on January 1st, given the monumental task which lies ahead, they're fooling themselves. If I were one of these candidates, and I'll tell you straight, after everything that's happened, I would be asking for a transition period."