(AP) Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman said he's backing Rudy Giuliani for president, throwing his support behind a fellow moderate Republican and former mayor.
"The shared vision as mayor of getting things done, tied in with his strong stance on security, Rudy gets that," Coleman told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Thursday. "So you tie those two together and it's a pretty powerful combination."
Coleman also called Giuliani "ultimately electable," a pitch that Giuliani has made throughout the campaign.
The two men got to know each other when Coleman was mayor of St. Paul, Minn., and Giuliani was mayor of New York City, and they have a lot in common. Both are natives of the New York City borough of Brooklyn. Both are former prosecutors. And both are former Democrats.
"We have similar records - making cities safer, creating jobs, lowering taxes," Coleman said, adding he's known Giuliani for 13 years.
Coleman said he didn't know how much the endorsement would help, but noted that Minnesota will be in play in next year's campaign.
"I represent the pragmatic wing of the Republican Party, getting things done," he said.
Republicans chose St. Paul to hold next year's nominating convention, in an attempt to give the party a boost in a competitive swing state.
Coleman, meanwhile, is trying to improve his standing with swing voters in the run-up to a tough re-election campaign next year.
"Voters in Minnesota will measure me on what I have done, my record of accomplishment," Coleman said.
But he did note that Minnesota hasn't voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1972, and said he thinks Giuliani has a good chance to carry the state.
"I'm also on the ballot, so that would certainly be a good thing for me," Coleman said.
He said he would not consider serving as Giuliani's running mate.
The state's Republican governor, Tim Pawlenty, is a national co-chairman of Arizona Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign.