Though he has yet to declare that he will run, former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani building a national network of donors who would raise money for a White House candidacy, according to the finance chairman of his New York State exploratory committee.
Mr. Giuliani met at a Midtown restaurant on Wednesday with a group of about 30 supporters from around the country who discussed how they would organize fund-raising for a presidential run, said Roy W. Bailey, the finance chairman of the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Exploratory Committee Inc.
“Their commitment is to go out and help us build as strong a finance organization as we can build,” Mr. Bailey, a founding partner of Mr. Giuliani’s consulting firm, Giuliani Partners, said yesterday. “They’ll do that in their respective geographical areas.”
Among those who attended were Thomas O. Hicks, owner of the Texas Rangers; Mel M. Immergut, chairman of the New York law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy; Patrick C. Oxford, managing partner at the Houston law firm Mr. Giuliani joined last year, now known as Bracewell & Giuliani; William E. Simon Jr., an investor who ran for governor of California in 2002; and Barry D. Wynn, a former chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party. T. Boone Pickens, a Texas billionaire with oil and gas investments, took part through a conference call, Mr. Bailey said.
Several of the supporters, including Mr. Hicks and Mr. Wynn, were major contributors to President Bush’s re-election effort in 2004.
Mr. Immergut said he did not have doubts about Mr. Giuliani’s interest in the race. “If he wasn’t really interested, he wouldn’t be spending the time of all the people that are already gathered around him and the amount of time that he’s been spending crisscrossing the country to test the waters.”
In discussing the meeting, the supporters appeared to want to demonstrate that Mr. Giuliani had the connections and appeal to mount a campaign that could cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
In interviews, several of them said the former mayor had discussed his potential liabilities in a Republican primary — perhaps the greatest being his liberal views on social issues like abortion and gay rights.
“Certainly one of the first questions that was asked was how his views on things like gun control and pro-choice and gay marriage would affect the views of the party in terms of nominating him,” Mr. Immergut said.
“He talked specifically about what his views on those issues were, and he said that his own view was that when he was able to engage in conversations with party members who were more on the right, they could understand that his views were not as black and white as they had been painted.”
Mr. Immergut added, “He said that for many important issues, his views would be right in sync with the huge majority of Republicans.”
Mr. Wynn, who owns a trust and asset management company, said: “I’ve talked to a lot of very conservative voters in South Carolina — I think I’m one of them — and I think we’re interested in the position the country is in right now and around the world. I think leadership and national security are going to be the overriding issues. People who may disagree with him on other issues will accept that disagreement and support him.”
Referring to last week’s midterm elections, in which Republicans lost control of Congress, Mr. Wynn said, “I think what the election showed us is that we need fresh ideas and leadership from outside of Washington.”
Mr. Simon, whose father was treasury secretary in the Nixon and Ford administrations, worked under Mr. Giuliani from 1985 to 1988, when he was the United States attorney in Manhattan. “I would support Rudy Giuliani for president 100 percent: financially, intellectually and emotionally,” he said.
Aron Pilhofer contributed reporting for The New York Times.