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Giuliani Ally Backs Romney

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Rep. Michael Grimm, a Republican who represents Staten Island, is endorsing Mitt Romney in the GOP presidential primary—saying he's concluded former Mayor Rudy Giuliani is not entering the race and it's time for his party to rally around the candidate most likely to defeat President Barack Obama in 2012.


Mr. Grimm said he had been delaying an endorsement decision to see whether Mr. Giuliani entered the race. The former mayor helped Mr. Grimm, a political neophyte, get elected to Congress last year.

"I wanted to wait until I knew for sure, and I feel pretty confident that the mayor's not going to run,'' Mr. Grimm said Sunday.

The congressman, a former FBI agent, said he recently met with Mr. Romney's chief rival for the nomination, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, but decided to back Mr. Romney, a former businessman and ex-governor of Massachusetts.

Mr. Grimm said Mr. Romney is "the right candidate to lead America during these tough times."

The Staten Island congressman is part of the large group of conservative lawmakers who rode a wave of Tea Party anger to Congress in the 2010 elections. As a lawmaker, he has not always agreed with Tea Party demands, and has also developed relationships with more moderate Republicans in Washington.

Endorsing Mr. Romney, the current frontrunner, could be viewed by voters in Mr. Grimm's district as another sign of his moderate bent, since Mr. Romney has so far failed to excite the most conservative elements of the Republican Party. Mr. Romney ran for president four years ago, but lost the GOP nomination to Sen. John McCain.


"I think the Republicans have to rally behind the candidate that can win, and you don't win by holding a purity contest," said Mr. Grimm.

Currently, the GOP field is dominated by Messrs. Romney and Perry, but neither has yet been able to generate enough momentum to force out challengers that include Rep. Ron Paul, former pizza executive Herman Cain, Rep. Michele Bachman, former Sen. Rick Santorum and former Rep. Newt Gingrich.

The pace of endorsements has picked up since the announcements last week that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin would not enter the race, meaning the field of GOP candidates has become more or less set. For political newcomers such as Mr. Grimm, an early endorsement can mean a valuable link to party higher-ups—provided his chosen candidate succeeds.

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