A Rudy Giuliani victory in the Florida primary has become so crucial for his campaign that supporters fear a loss could doom his chances even in his own backyard, New York.
Giuliani has fallen from first to fourth or worse in some national polls, finished near the bottom in the GOP’s earliest primaries and caucuses, and has seen his once solid lead in Florida disappear.
“It’s pretty certain that he has to win Florida,” Guy Molinari, co-chairman of Rudy’s campaign in New York, told the New York Times.
Giuliani backers are said to be confident that if he wins Florida or runs a very close second, he would likely go on to win all the delegates from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut on Feb. 5.
But if he finishes a distant second or worse in the Sunshine State, where he has focused much of his campaigning so far, supporters are worried that the New York primary a week later would probably be up for grabs, the Times reports.
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut account for about 15 percent of the number of delegates needed for the Republican nomination, and all three are winner-take-all states.
“I think that a lot of what’s happening in general is the early campaigning in Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan playing an active role, and the fact that Rudy chose not to compete” in those races, said Guy Talarico, a Giuliani supporter and former chairman of the Republican Party in Bergen County, N.J.
A Quinnipiac University poll of likely GOP voters in Florida last month had Rudy ahead with 28 percent of the votes, with Mike Huckabee second at 21 percent.
But a survey last week found the race was now tied among four candidates — Giuliani, Huckabee, Mitt Romney, and John McCain.
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