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Wannabe Mayor On Aisle Three

Is Gristedes guy Mike-like?

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Add the name of John Catsimatidis to the growing crop of wannabe Bloombergs. The Gristedes supermarket owner, sometime Democratic fund-raiser, and perennial political flirt insists he will run for mayor in 2009. “I think New Yorkers have realized the city could be run as a business—I don’t think they’ll ever go back to traditional bullshit backroom politics,” he says. He plans to follow in Mike Bloomberg’s footsteps by running as a Republican and financing his own campaign. With his Red Apple Group taking in nearly $3 billion in annual revenues from supermarket, aviation, newspaper, and real-estate interests in 2005, spending $100 million or so for a mayoral bid shouldn’t break him. “I can just write the check,” he says. If elected, Catsimatidis hopes to appoint Ray Kelly as his first deputy. Some veteran politicos think he’s all bluster. “He’s just a big talker,” says consultant Norman Adler. “If there’s one terrible thing this mayor has done in this city, it’s been putting the idea in the minds of successful businessmen that they, too, can be mayor.”


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