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Giuliani hearts Hialeah

Rudy Giuliani, who has campaigned in Hialeah enough to begin to qualify for residency, is to return next week for an afternoon rally at the Milander Auditorium on Palm Avenue.

Giuliani's visit comes Thursday - the day of the Iowa caucuses. But the former New York City mayor isn't playing much in the early primary states, instead staking hope on a big showing in Florida, which votes Jan. 29 - just days before "Super Duper Tuesday" on Feb. 5 when nearly two dozen states hold primaries, including the delegate-rich states of Illinois, New York, New Jersey and California.

Giuliani's campaign advisors say they expect him to take several of those states, buoyed by a boost from Florida, home to lots of former New Yorkers who still revere "America's Mayor" for pulling the city together after Sept. 11.

But critics suggest it's going to be tough for him to sustain momentum as other GOP'ers rack up wins in the early primary states. And Giuliani is facing a new challenge in Florida from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who has picked up a number of endorsements from South Florida legislators. Giuliani just left Florida for Iowa on Friday -- and he's up in Florida with his first campaign ads in the state.

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