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STATE GOP CHIEF BACKS GIULIANI

A three-year political rift was apparently mended Monday as state Republican Chairman William Powers said he is supporting New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for re-election.

Giuliani angered state GOP leaders in 1994 by crossing party lines to endorse then-Gov. Mario Cuomo for re-election against Republican George Pataki.

Powers said he and the mayor met last week to discuss how the state GOP might help Giuliani's re-election effort. Powers said the extent of that assistance, which is limited by strict New York City Campaign Finance Board rules, was still being worked out.

Powell refused to comment on a report in Monday's New York Post that in return for state party support this year, Giuliani had agreed to support Pataki and Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, R-N.Y., in their re-election races next year.

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