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Billionaire (not that one) announces NYC mayor bid

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 29, 2013 at 6:54 pm •  Published: January 29, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) — From one billionaire mayor of New York City to another? Businessman John Catsimatidis is hoping so.

Catsimatidis, whose business interests include grocery stories, oil and real estate, announced his entrance into the mayoral race Tuesday on the steps of City Hall.

The Republican joins an increasingly crowded field of GOP, Democratic and other candidates seeking to succeed the term-limited, Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Enthusiastic and frank, Catsimatidis portrayed himself as someone with both CEO experience that would help him run the nation's biggest city and a background as a regular New Yorker, enabling him to relate to its residents.

"It's not that I'm only a businessperson. I'm from 135th Street. I've never forgotten where I came from," he said, speaking to a crowd of a few dozen supporters. "I'm not a Mike Bloomberg billionaire. I'm not wearing a $5,000 suit."

Catsimatidis (pronounced kat-sih-mah-TEE-dihz) also said he differs from Bloomberg on some specific matters, including the mayor's unsuccessful plan some years ago to charge motorists driving in the busiest parts of Manhattan during peak hours.

But he credited the three-term mayor with attracting businesses and presiding over a drop in crime, among other improvements.

"The world has confidence in our city," he said. "We have to maintain that confidence."

Catsimatidis, whose fortune Forbes pegged at $3 billion in September, said he would spend "whatever we have to spend" on his campaign "if it's going our direction."

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