Rudy S. Giuliani, the 28-year-old namesake cousin of the former New York mayor, is a likely Republican candidate for a state Senate seat in New York this year.

Capitol Tonight reports that the younger Giuliani has been in discussions with state Republican leaders about challenging Sen. Tony Avella (D-Whitestone) in a district encompassing northeastern Queens. Queens Politics reports that Senate Republicans decided on Giuliani during a secret meeting in recent days.

The decision on Giuliani comes as New York Senate Republicans unveil a series of high-profile candidates in an attempt to expand their narrow control of the Senate. On Tuesday, New York City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) announced his candidacy against Sen. Joe Addabbo (D-Ozone Park) for a seat encompassing southern Queens. Ulrich, who last week was reported to have decided against a Senate run, was the GOP's top choice to take on Addabbo.

Giuliani worked on his cousin's presidential campaign in 2008, and his mother is a lobbyist and Republican fundraiser. He is taking on the one-term Avella, a former city councilman who unseated longtime Sen. Frank Padavan (R) in 2010. Douglaston-Little Neck Patch reports that Padavan, who had been considering a bid for his old seat, will not be running for the Senate this year.

Republicans regained control of the New York Senate in 2010 following a two-year hiatus and hold a 32-29 majority, with one seat vacant, in the 62-member chamber. Republicans had controlled the Senate from 1965 to 2008 prior to Democrats grabbing a narrow majority for two years. This year's redistricting adds an additional seat to the chamber, in a move that is viewed as helping GOP chances of retaining control.

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