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Giuliani Takes First Step in Run for President

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has apparently taken the first step toward a presidential run, filing with the New York Department of State late last week to form a presidential exploratory committee .

Papers for the "Rudy Giuliani For President Exploratory Committee, Inc." were filed last Friday in New York. It is registered as a "domestic not for profit organization."

"Mayor Giuliani has not made a decision yet," said treasurer John H. Gross. "With the filing of this document, we have taken the necessary legal steps so an organization can be put in place and money can be raised to explore a possible presidential run in 2008."

Unlike people like Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D) or Arizona Sen. John McCain (R), who will file their exploratory committees with the Federal Election Commission, Giuliani chose to file his organization with New York's Secretary of State.

Why? Early reports from campaign finance lawyers suggest that Giuliani will not be required to disclose any of his donations or expenditures through the state registered not-for-profit; he would not have that luxury with a federal committee. With the state-based organization he would not be able to accept any donations over the federal limits (roughly $2,100 per each individual), but would be able to transfer any money he raises into a federal presidential account. The FEC calls this sort of activity "testing the waters" -- and provides specific guidelines for candidates choosing this fundraising route.

In our most recent Friday Presidential Line, Giuliani is ranked as the third-most likely candidate to win the Republican nomination.

Aside from the particulars, Giuliani's toe-dip into the presidential waters isn't terribly surprising. He spent much of the final few months of the 2006 campaign stumping for House and Senate candidates around the country. However, he has yet to begin building campaign infrastuctures in early states like Iowa and New Hampshire.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 13, 2006; 5:31 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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