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Lhota Visits Important City Jewish Site On Day 1 Of Campaign Trail

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Just before the holiest Jewish holiday of the year, Republican mayoral nominee Joseph Lhota visited one of city's most treasured Jewish sites on day 1 on the general election campaign trail. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

Joseph Lhota's first campaign stop coming off a victory Tuesday night was to ask for a blessing.

"As most people do, they fill out a blessing, they leave it there, and it's private," Lhota said.

The Republican nominee for mayor visited the grave of the Rebbe Menachem Schneerson in Queens, considered a holy site for many observant Jews.

Per tradition, Lhota, who calls himself a practicing Christian, wrote a prayer and threw it in the grave, just like thousands have done before him.

Lhota was mum on the message.

"It's all about the future of New York City," he said.

The Republican race for November's general election may be settled, but even those close to the former deputy mayor recognize that he is an unfamiliar face with a lot of work to do.

While some business tycoons are rallying behind him, like members of the Koch family, others are skeptical, questioning his viability in November's general election.

"I believe my chances are very, very good," Lhota said.

"There's two questions here. The question is Joe Lhota as himself and Joe Lhota and then with his opponent," said Rabbi Yitzchok Hecht. "I don't know who the opponent is so we won't make any comments on that. Joe Lhota himself is an upright guy. He's a stand-up person."

While Lhota did not want to weigh in on the potential of a runoff, he did take a dig at Bill de Blasio and his platform of a "tale of two cities." Lhota said we are actually one city, just made up of many different communities.

"You will not get a more stark difference in approach between the two of us," Lhota said. "We have very, very different ideas on taxes, jobs, education, almost every single issue."

At one point, Lhota was eyeing an endorsement from the current occupant of City Hall. He said he put in a call to Mayor Michael Bloomberg Tuesday night.

"He has been very, very busy with all of the 9/11 events," Lhota said. "I will talk to him in due time."

Lhota is still waiting to hear back.

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