Former MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota of Brooklyn Heights has made it official - he's taking on the seemingly impossible task of keeping Republicans' improbable hold on Gracie Mansion.
The former Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman announced on Twitter that he is now a candidate for mayor of New York City. Lhota officially entered the race Thursday morning after filing documents with the Board of Elections and the city’s Campaign Finance Board.
Lhota, a top Giulliani aide, will run with Rudy's endorsement, NYC-friendly libertarian-style views, and considerable credit as a policy maker. Thus, he immediately jumps ahead of a profoundly uninspiring crop of Republicans and non-Republicans seeking the GOP line in candidate quality.
The first task for Lhota is to shut down a primary. If a non-Republican, like ex-Bronx BP Adolfo Carrion (I-City Island) or State Sen. Malcolm Smith (ID-Jamaica, Queens) secures three county chairs' blessings, they can force a primary. Thankfully, internal squabbling looks likely to doom both. A bigger threat is John Catsimatidis, the billionaire grocery store owner initially thought to be Republicans' savior in the race. Catsimatidis is still thinking about running but his trial phase has proven him to be a spectacularly inept candidate with a strong propensity for foot-in-mouth disease. It would be in the party's best interest if he stayed out.
After Lhota navigates those waters, his reward will be a dramatically uphill fight in the general election. A Q poll out yesterday showed him losing by comically large margins to each of the three serious Democrats mounting bids, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, ex-Comptroller Bill Thompson, and Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio. It's a tough road, but for the first time in this race, Republicans have a small hope of winning America's biggest and most powerful mayorality this year.
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