Former deputy mayor and MTA chairman Joseph Lhota easily vanquished his rivals to win the Republican nomination for mayor Tuesday. He is the first longtime Republican to win his party’s nod since Rudolph Giuliani in 1998.
He kicked off the general election by vowing to resist Democrat Bill de Blasio’s efforts to “tear down the progress of what’s happened in the last 20 years.” Without mentioning him by name, Lhota said de Blasio’s characterization of modern New York as “a tale of two cities,” one rich and one poor, was “class warfare.”
“The last thing we want is to send our city back to the days of economic despair, fear and hopelessness,” Lhota told supporters at the Hilton Hotel in Midtown. “New York has always been a beacon of hope for the world and a land of opportunity … there are no limits to what we can accomplish.”
Lhota won 52 percent of the vote against John Catsimitidis, a billionaire supermarket mogul who won 41 percent, while George McDonald, founder of the non-profit Doe Fund won just 6 percent. Lhota lost his home borough of Brooklyn, however, as well as Staten Island.
In his concession speech, Catsimitidis apologized to his supporters for letting them down and said “next time I’ll work harder.”
Lhota said Catsimitidis is a “a good man and a solid New Yorker. He and I agree more than we disagree.”