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John Catsimatidis, owner, president, chairman and CEO of Gristedes Foods, the largest grocery store chain in Manhattan, lost the Sept. 10 Republican primary election to be New York City’s GOP mayoral candidate. The winner, Joe Lhota, who formerly headed up the city’s Metropolitan Transit Authority and was a deputy mayor during the Rudy Giuliani administration, beat Catsimatidis by a wide margin. Lhota will go on to run against the Democratic candidate for mayor.
Catsimatidis’ self-funded campaign was spirited, showcasing the supermarket operator and real estate mogul’s outsize personality as well as his stand on the issues, including opposition to back pay for municipal unions and wholehearted support for New York City’s controversial “Stop and Frisk” crime-fighting policy.
According to the Politicker blog, at his concession speech at the city’s Roosevelt Hotel, Catsimatidis apologized to supporters for not winning the primary, and the first-time candidate vowed, “Next time, I’ll work harder!” indicating a future run for office.
Gristedes operates 31 grocery stores in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Scarsdale, N.Y. Catsimatidis acquired the chain in 1986.