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Lhota, Catsimatidis Campaign On Staten Island Before Final Debate

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Before their final debate this weekend, both Joseph Lhota and John Catsimatidis were courting Republican voters on Staten Island Friday, and Catsimatidis was once again on the attack, slamming Lhota for comments he made earlier this summer. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

John Catsimatidis was surrounded Friday by police officers from the Port Authority.

"They are important assets. Why would anybody badmouth them?" he said.

The billionaire businessman was once again on the attack, trying to remind voters of what front-runner Joseph Lhota said about these officers.

"Those cops get paid more than NYPD cops, and quite honestly, and I know I'm going to get in trouble for saying this, they're nothing more than mall cops," Lhota said on May 7.

"They believe that I was sincere in my apology. There is nothing more I can say if the man wants to take advantage for all the wrong reasons," Lhota said. "What we should be talking about is the future of the city of New York."

Both were talking to Staten Island voters on Friday, spending time in the last bastion of the city's Republican party.

"It's my favorite borough, and I want to make sure they get everything they need to survive here," Lhota said.

Catsimatidis is lagging far behind in the polls, and on Friday, he softened a pledge to run in the general election on the Liberal Party line, a commitment he made back in May when he received the party's endorsement.

"I'm not going to answer that question," he said. "I believe we could win."

Meanwhile, Lhota was already thinking past Tuesday's primary. He is holding a major fundraising breakfast on Monday. Hosts include the conservative Koch family and the founder of Home Depot.

As he was courting Staten Island seniors, some speculated he had the support of other politicians in mind.

"I said yesterday that the last time I spoke to the mayor was either in late January or early February. I haven't spoken to him since," Lhota said. "I will talk to him after the election."

Lhota is expected to get some assistance on the campaign trail this weekend, where he will be joined by former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Then, Lhota and Catsimatidis will have their final faceoff in the last televised debate, scheduled for Sunday. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP