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Billionaire business mogul John Catsimatidis is gearing up for another run for mayor of New York City — declaring himself a “Republican-Liberal” candidate.
“The progressive flank of the Democratic Party seems to be controlling common-sense Democrats through fear and intimidation. I stand by my belief that the so-called Progressive movement is actually REGRESSIVE, taking our City back thirty years,” Catsimatidis told The Post in a statement.
Catsimatidis is owner of the Gristedes supermarket chain, United Refinery in Pennsylvania, real estate, and 77 WABC talk radio. He spent $12 million of his own money when he lost to Joe Lhota in the 2013 GOP mayoral primary.
The Greek immigrant said 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.
Other Republican mayoral hopefuls include Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa, taxi driver/bodega advocate Fernando Matteo and financier Sarah Tirschwell.
Catsimatidis hasn’t officially declared his candidacy, but insiders say he is definitely running.
The statement provided to the Post wasn’t subtle. It came under the heading: “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.
“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.”
The Liberal Party currently doesn’t have ballot status. But 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.
Catsmidatis, 72, has given conflicting statements about the viability of running as a Republican.
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. His daughter, Andrea, is the chairwoman of the Manhattan Republican Party.
Former three-term GOP Gov. George Pataki all but endorsed Catsimatidis in a Post interview.
“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 said.
“I think he’d have a very good chance because he’s a New Yorker who knows not just business but the streets,” Pataki said.
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