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John Catsimatidis to Launch Bid for Mayor

By Jill Colvin | January 29, 2013 1:08pm

CITY HALL — Supermarket magnate John Catsimatidis will launch his bid for mayor as a Republican Tuesday at City Hall.

The billionaire owner of the Gristedes supermarket chain, who ranked 132nd on Forbes' 2012 "Richest People in America List," has already plopped $1 million into his campaign coffers, records show.

He is hoping his unpolished, "common billionaire" persona will appeal to voters looking for an alternative to the Democratic field.

“Am I a Republican? Yes. Am I a Democrat? Yes. Am I a conservative? Yes. Am I a liberal? Yes,” he recently tole the New York Times.

“We’re right in the middle. What are we? We’re pro-people. But, we’re also pro-business," he said.

Catsimatis will join a ballooning Republican field, which now includes former MTA Chair Joe Lhota, Doe Fund founder George McDonald and Manhattan Media CEO Tom Allon.

He previously considered running for mayor in 2009, but quietly dropped out of the race when Mayor Michael Bloomberg made his move to run for a third term.

The former Democrat is also known as a powerful fundraiser, and has contributed to pols on both sides of the aisle, including failed Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, Rep. Charlie Rangel and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.