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Conservatives Shun Giuliani

Republican Rudolph Giuliani needs the Conservative Party's support if he runs for the Senate next year. But relations between the mayor and the Conservatives are strained.

For one thing, Giuliani wasn't invited to an important state Conservative Party fund-raiser event Tuesday night.

In fact, the chairman of the politically influential third party said he has not talked to the New York City mayor in three months about a possible endorsement for the race that is expected to pit Giuliani against Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"If I invited him and he showed up, it would send the wrong message," party Chairman Michael Long said Tuesday.

No Republican has won a statewide race in New York without Conservative Party backing since its founding more than 25 years ago. Unlike most states, New York allows major party candidates to run on third-party ballot lines and they can make the difference in tight races. Polls have shown Giuliani and Mrs. Clinton, a Democrat, running close to each other.

Long said he hasn't ruled out an eventual endorsement of Giuliani but added, "I've laid out my agenda. While I think the bar is kind of low, maybe it's too high for him."

To get Conservative Party backing, Giuliani would have to give up the Liberal Party's longtime support and "give some consideration to the issue of partial-birth abortion," Long said. Giuliani has previously come out against any ban on the late-term abortion procedure that critics call partial-birth abortion.