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Grocery Store Mogul Throws Hat Into Mayoral Race

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Billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis officially announced Tuesday his run for New York City mayor. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

What's a mayor's race without a self-made billionaire?

Enter John Catsimatidis, who said Tuesday he's not your average billionaire.

"I am a common sense New Yorker that cares about the people," he said. "I am not a Mike Bloomberg billionaire. I am not wearing a $5,000 suit. I think my wife paid $100 for this."

Catsimatidis announced his bid for the GOP ticket on the steps of City Hall on Tuesday, touting his business acumen.

"I made it from that Greek island to 135th Street to the top of the business community," he said. "It's my turn to give back."

He is the fourth Republican to officially enter the race.

The owner of Gristedes, Catsimatidis is worth an estimated $3 billion.

He said he would spend $20 million on a bid for City Hall.

"You spend five and then you get pregnant. You spend another five and you get more pregnant," he said. "Look, if it's going in our direction, we'll spend whatever we have to spend."

His announcement was short on policy, but he did say he would keep Ray Kelly as police commissioner

He also said that he would only serve one term if elected.

"If we don't have a good replacement, I might be forced to go more than four years, but I'd rather do four years," he said.

Catsimatidis has clinched the support of two of the city's GOP chairmen: Manhattan and Queens.

"It's a new chapter in the history of this great city," said Manhattan GOP Chairman Dan Isaacs.

"John is a regular guy," said Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa. "He started in the streets and worked his way up."

Catsimatidis has donated more than $75,000 since 2009 to the city's county committees, the vast majority to Queens and Manhattan.

For months, the GOP county chairmen have said they wanted to avoid a Republican primary this fall. That seems highly unlikely now that Catsimatidis is officially in the race.

Nonetheless, the chairmen are sitting with all of the declared candidates next week to discuss their candidacies.

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