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GOP Official: Former MTA Chairman Lhota To Officially Announce Mayoral Run

Guy Molinari: ' He Has Fire In The Belly...We're Off To The Races'
Joe Lhota (credit: MTA)

Joe Lhota (credit: MTA)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New York City’s former mass transit chief seems poised to toss his hat into the ring for mayor.

Former Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joseph Lhota will announce his candidacy for mayor later this month, according to former Staten Island Congressman and former borough president Guy Molinari.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reports

“He said to me ‘I love New York City, I know what it takes to run New York City, I’ve been there. I don’t need any on-the-job training and I want this badly.’ So he has fire in the belly, he’s ready to go and we’re off to the races,” Molinari told WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb.

Lhota, a Republican, served as Rudy Giuliani’s budget director, finance commissioner and deputy mayor for operations during Giuliani’s term as mayor from 1994 until 2001. Giuliani has said he’d endorse Lhota if he decides to run for mayor.

Lhota stepped down from the MTA at the end of December to consider a run for the city’s top office.

Molinari said Lhota is aware that his is an underdog in the race right now. But Molinari added that in their meeting, Lhota laid out his path for victory.

“He explained to me how he intends to raise money. His wife Tamara is a very noted fundraiser. But he has a plan all set for money-raising and he’s already been in touch with some of the big donors who’ve urged him to run and pledged their support,” Molinari told Lamb.

Lhota earned high marks for his leadership in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy. He was widely praised for he quick restoration of the subway system after the storm.

He also has extensive experience in business, banking and city government. He is also the son of an NYPD lieutenant.

Others mulling a run for the Republican nod are supermarket magnate John Catsimatides, publisher Tom Allon and homeless advocate George McDonald.

Former Democratic Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Jr. recently left the party to run either as an independent or a Republican.

On the Democratic side, city council Speaker Christine Quinn is widely considered the front-runner though she has not formally announced her candidacy. Comptroller John Liu and public advocate Bill de Blasio are also considered possible candidates. Former city comptroller Bill Thompson is officially running for the job.

On Thursday, former Democratic city councilman Sal Albanese announced he filed the official paperwork to run for mayor.

Who do you back so far to replace Mayor Bloomberg at City Hall? Sound off in the comments section below…