NEW YORK - Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, viewed by many New York Republicans as a savior for the party in the Democratic dominated state, said yesterday he won't run for political office next year and instead will concentrate on his lucrative law and consulting businesses.

"We have some pretty significant commitments next year that will really make it impossible for me to run full-time for office," Giuliani said at a news conference to endorse former Rep. Rick Lazio for governor.

Giuliani's consulting business, Giuliani Partners, is flourishing. This month it landed a contract with Rio de Janeiro - plagued by violence in its slums - to help make the city safer before it hosts the 2016 Olympics. He is credited by many for cutting crime and turning around New York when he led the city.

Giuliani said he considered running for governor against Democratic Gov. David Paterson or in the U.S. Senate race next year against freshman Kirsten Gillibrand.

"It just isn't the right time," he said.

Giuliani, whose most recent foray into politics ended with a stinging loss to John McCain in the race for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, said there are strong candidates in the party for both races, "and I want to start out by endorsing one, Rick Lazio for governor."

He said former Gov. George Pataki and U.S. Rep. Pete King could be strong GOP candidates for Senate.

Giuliani supported Lazio, who replaced him on the ticket in the 2000 Senate race and was trounced by Hillary Rodham Clinton. Giuliani withdrew from that race after getting prostate cancer and suffering a public breakup of his marriage.

Paterson appointed Gillibrand earlier this year to take over for Clinton after the former first lady became secretary of state. The 2010 election will decide who will serve out the balance of the term, through 2012.

Potential Republican candidates for Senate had been looking for word on Giuliani's plans before proceeding with theirs. But Lee Miringoff of the Marist College poll noted that time is growing short for potential candidates to raise both money and their statewide stature.

The off-year elections in November toppled many Democrats and polls show flagging support for President Obama and many other Democrats. Paterson is seeking election and his polls are rising, but from low levels. Also, Democrats control state government, but hard fiscal times such as these often hurt incumbents.