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Pundit: If Anyone Scares The New York City Democrats, It’s Joe Lhota

GOP Mayoral Candidate Breaks Silence, Gives Some Of His Views To CBS 2
New York City Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota (file /credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

New York City Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota (file /credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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NYC Is A Strange Place

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Joe Lhota, the former head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, spoke out Friday, days after making his candidacy official.

He sat down with CBS 2 political reporter Marcia Kramer to share his views on everything from tolls to tickets to taxes.

Lhota said he’d make a great partner in the game of Trivial Pursuit because he has a storehouse of knowledge about a whole lot of things. But there’s nothing trivial about his desire to be mayor of New York City.

“New York is in my DNA,” Lhota told Kramer.

Lhota, who resigned last month as head of the MTA to seek the city’s top job, has both public and private sector experience. He was first deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani. He is a frank, law and order kind of guy who minces no words. Take the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk program.

“Anyone who says we should eliminate stop-and-frisk really is putting the city in danger,” Lhota said.

He has equally strong views about taxes. They should be reduced or eliminated. As for tickets, the Bloomberg administration gives out far too many of them.

“I’ve heard the complaints in all five boroughs. Businessmen are outraged at what used to be every now and then enforcement,” Lhota said.

And even though he’s a mass transit guy, he said he will not be the one to toll the East River bridges.

“I don’t particularly favor tolling the East River bridges,” Lhota said.

Lhota is a Republican in a heavily Democratic city. He’s fiscally conservative, but he is pro-choice and favors marriage equality. He said he would perform a same-sex marriage if asked.

Pundits say his late entry into the race has already changed the multi-candidate Republican primary.

“I think at this point he is the Republican primary,” Baruch College’s Micheline Blum said.

Watch the full interview with Lhota here

And his candidacy has also shaken up the Democrats at a time when the party thought it would finally have a chance of taking City Hall after 20 years of GOP victories.

“I certainly think Joe Lhota scares the Democratic candidates a whole lot more than any other Republican,” Blum said.

Lhota is also known for bluntly speaking his mind. After Hurricane Sandy, for example, he called Mayor Michael Bloomberg an idiot. Some, including political expert Blum, think that if he won he could turn out to be New York City’s Chris Christie.

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