11:42 am Dec. 19, 20121
Billionaire supermarket magnate John Catsimatidis, who hopes to be the Republican mayoral nominee in 2013, said in an email the he welcomed the potential competition from M.T.A. chairman Joe Lhota, but that "Maybe he should run for comptroller."
Before Governor Andrew Cuomo picked Lhota to run the M.T.A., Lhota spent years in the private sector as a banker, and, before that, was a deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani.
Catsimatidis, a Clinton donor who supported Mitt Romney, recently opened up an exploratory committee to run for mayor, but has said that he'd step aside if NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly decided to enter the race.
He is apparently not prepared to extend the same deference to Lhota.
Neither is at least one local Republican official. Manhattan G.O.P. chairman Daniel Isaacs said he looked forward to having his first meeting with Lhota, but, "If John Catsimatidis is running, he has my support."
Other possible contestants for the Republican nomination are local publisher Tom Allon and D.O.E. fund founder George McDonald, State Senator Malcolm Smith, and Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr. All of them are or recently were Democrats.