John Catsimatidis and Joe Lhota face off in last GOP mayoral debate

Former MTA chairman Joe Lhota and Gristedes head John Catsimatidis spar in the last televised debate before the Republican primary. Credit: NBC New York
Former MTA chairman Joe Lhota and Gristedes head John Catsimatidis spar in the last televised debate before the Republican primary.
Credit: NBC New York

The top two Republican candidates for mayor faced off in the final debate Sunday, making noise about public safety, crime and each other’s faults.

Early on, Gristedes head John Catsimatidis slammed former MTA chairman Joe Lhota for communications problems between first responders on 9/11 while he was deputy to Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Catsimatidis said Lhota had the ability to fix potential problems with police and fire radios after the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993.

Though he took “responsibility for what happened,” Lhota noted Catsimatidis incorrectly placed the city’s emergency management center on a “high” floor when it was on the third floor in WTC 7.

“John, get your facts straight,” Lhota said.

Throughout the rest of the debate, Lhota pointed out several other factual mistakes in his rival’s comments. For one, the mayor is sworn in on Jan. 1, not Jan. 3, he said.

In an awkward moment, Catsimatidis suggested Lhota would have trouble winning the general election, noting his own support among Latino and black voters or, as he called them, “the minorities.”

“All the minorities I’ve been to in the last three months, they love me,” Catsimatidis said. “I have a love factor with the minorities. I’ve been to every minority neighborhood, they all give me hugs.”

Catsimatidis further painted himself as a “visionary” with experience creating jobs, while calling Lhota a “technical person.”

Lhota insisted he isn’t a bureaucrat.

Both candidates agreed they would keep on NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, if possible, and said they would hire more police officers.

Lhota has been ahead of both Catsimatidis and Doe Fund founder George McDonald, who did not qualify for this debate, in the most recent polls.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio leads the latest polls among Democrats.

Asked which Democrat would be best for the city during the debate, Catsimatidis said former City Comptroller Bill Thompson.

Lhota said none of them.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NHL

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1

MLB

MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.