N.Y. Republicans Line Up Behind Giuliani

New York's Republican Party hierarchy is set to start spreading the news: It is lining up behind "favorite son" Rudy Giuliani's presidential candidacy.

The home-state endorsements for the former New York City mayor are expected to start Monday. The state party chairman, Joseph Mondello, will endorse Giuliani for president, Anthony Santino, a spokesman for the chairman, told The Associated Press on Saturday. Mondello also is chairman of Nassau County GOP on Long Island.

Santino said Mondello would be joined at a New York City event by fellow county chairmen.

On Tuesday, Giuliani will be at Albany's airport to pick up the endorsements of state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, state Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco and other GOP state lawmakers, two key Republicans told the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information before the event.

While the home-state support for Giuliani was expected, the state GOP leaders had held off on such endorsements at Mondello's request until after a major state party fundraiser that was held Thursday night in Manhattan. The $1,000-a-person event drew about 1,100 people and was headlined by Giuliani and his GOP presidential rival, Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record) of Arizona.

National polls have shown Giuliani leading the field for the GOP nomination and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York leading on the Democratic side.

The string of Giuliani's New York party endorsements are expected just one week after Clinton's trip to the state Capitol, where she was endorsed by Gov. Eliot Spitzer and other top New York Democrats.