For months, the Republican establishment in New York and New Jersey marched nearly in lock step behind Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former hometown mayor they were confident would become their party's nominee for president.
But as Mr. Giuliani has plummeted from first to fourth -- or worse -- in some national polls, as he finished near the bottom of the pack in the nation's earliest primaries, and as his lead evaporated even in Florida, the state on which he has gambled the most time and money, those Republican leaders are verging toward a grim new consensus:
If Mr. Giuliani loses in the Florida primary on Jan. 29, they say, he may even have trouble defeating the rivals who are encroaching on his own backyard.
More:Rudy Giuliani Supporters Rudy Giuliani Florida Rudy Giuliani Rudy Giuliani Presidential Campaign Rudy Giuliani New York Primary
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more