WASHINGTON – For more than a month, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has been in self-imposed political exile, a virtual sideshow as he all but sat out the early primaries to wait for the 2008 presidential contest to arrive in Florida.
Now, being irrelevant appears to be taking a toll. Friday, Giuliani’s campaign revealed that top aides are working for free to save money, an indication that donors are growing restless as they watch the candidate finish repeatedly at the bottom of the pack.
Campaign aides say that the money is still flowing in, and that $7 million is on hand. But concerns have surfaced that donors may not be interested in throwing good money after bad.
“Are they nervous? Sure,” said one Washington donor close to the Giuliani campaign.
But the donor added: “Chaos is our friend. And right now, the Republican side is chaotic. The other candidates are in a circular firing squad.”
Still, Giuliani is under increasing pressure to make sure he does not lose in Florida. He has stepped up his television advertising, beginning two new spots Thursday. He has proposed what his team calls the “largest tax cut in history.” On Sunday, he will begin a three-day bus tour across Florida, complete with four or five appearances daily, a pace unheard of for the candidate in previous months.
“The field is still wide open, which is what we wanted,” said campaign manager Michael DuHaime, the man behind what the team calls its “late-state” strategy to win the Republican nomination.
DuHaime confirmed that he and more than a dozen other top advisers and consultants with large salaries stopped being paid as of Jan. 1. “It’s about making sure that as much money as we can have, we have,” he said.