NEW YORK – Greek-American businessman John Catsimatidis is “prepping” to run for mayor of New York City a second time, according to a report in the New York Post on February 14. The billionaire business mogul owns “Gristedes supermarket chain, United Refinery in Pennsylvania, real estate, and 77 WABC talk radio,” the Post reported, adding that “he spent $12 million of his own money when he lost to Joe Lhota in the 2013 GOP mayoral primary.”
Catsimatidis, 72, said that “he will dig deeper into his checkbook this time and may cough up $100 million of his fortune to win the primary, then mount a serious challenge to whomever emerges the victor of the Democratic primary,” the Post reported.
Other possible Republican challengers include “Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa, taxi driver/bodega advocate Fernando Matteo, and financier Sarah Tirschwell,” the Post reported, noting that “Catsimatidis hasn’t officially declared his candidacy, but insiders say he is definitely running.”
“The statement provided to the Post wasn’t subtle,” the Post reported, pointing out that the heading was “Catsimatidis for New York City Mayor.”
“In 2013, I ran as a Republican-Liberal. If I run again, I will probably do the same,” said Catsimatidis, the Post reported, “Should I run for Mayor, I seek the support of my Democratic friends and supporters, who share my concerns about those in the inner city and boroughs who are struggling to make ends-meet.”
While the “Liberal Party currently does not have ballot status,” Catsimatidis “would spend the money to gather voter signatures to establish a Liberal Party line to try to woo Democrats to vote for him — a strategy successfully used by former GOP Mayor Rudy Giuiliani in the 1990s,” the Post reported.
Catsmidatis “has given conflicting statements about the viability of running as a Republican,” the Post reported, noting that “last month, he said it would be difficult to run for mayor a Republican and joked that ‘in the current environment in NYC if Jesus Christ ran as a Republican he would LOSE.’”
Catsimatidis “even considered changing his party registration to run in the Democratic primary for mayor, but changed his mind,” the Post reported, adding that “his daughter, Andrea, is the chairwoman of the Manhattan Republican Party.”
Former New York Governor George Pataki, a Republican who served three terms, spoke with the Post about Catsimatidis, “If he were to run, I think the Republican Party would unite behind him and I think a great many Democrats would unite behind him.”
Pataki told the Post, “I think he’d have a very good chance because he’s a New Yorker who knows not just business but the streets.”
Catsimatidis, who immigrated to New York with his family when he was a young child, is CEO of Red Apple Group, Inc., a diversified corporation that has holdings in the energy, aviation, retail and real estate sectors and over 8,000 employees, with approximately 2,000 located in New York City.