|John A. Catsimatidis|
“Am I a Republican? Yes. Am I a Democrat? Yes. Am I a conservative? Yes. Am I a liberal? Yes,” he said, his ringed fingers rapping the table. “We’re right in the middle. What are we? We’re pro-people. But, we’re also pro-business.”
Some ideological flexibility may be necessary when a wealthy businessman with zero political experience seeks the Republican nomination for mayor, particularly in a city that is overwhelmingly Democratic.[...]
Mr. Catsimatidis, who pondered a run on the Republican Republican line in 2009 and has formed an exploratory committee for the 2013 race, might need to do more than play both sides of the aisle if he wants to end up in City Hall.
An ample-bodied, idiosyncratic man who styles himself as a “common billionaire” — his company’s headquarters sit above a Lexus dealership — Mr. Catsimatidis is viewed with some skepticism by the city’s civic leaders, some of whom consider his political aspirations a vanity project.
He is best known as the proprietor of a less-than-universally-loved grocery store. He can be candid to the point of carelessness, recently finding himself in hot water after comparing policies to tax the rich to Hitler’s persecution of the Jews. And he lacks the C.E.O. demeanor and social radar that has guided other wealthy entrepreneurs, like Mr. Bloomberg, into elected office.
Still, Mr. Catsimatidis, despite dropping his bid the last time around, insists that he is now fully serious about a run. His vast fortune, estimated at $3 billion, would instantly make him the best-financed candidate in the race, and he has secured support from two of the city’s five Republican county chairmen[...]
Even his size, he said, could be a plus.
“People tell me, you better lose weight if you want to run for mayor,” Mr. Catsimatidis joked, with a nod toward his protruding belly. “I said, I got the Chris Christie look.”[...]
Mr. Catsimatidis struck an odd note when discussing education policy, expressing unease about the makeup of his daughter’s graduating class from New York University’s Stern School of Business.
“I think close to 480 of the 580 were Asian — Asian including India,” Mr. Catsimatidis said, of the graduates. “And, it was scary. And then when you think about it, we’re going to deport most of these kids.” (He clarified that he was concerned about immigration policies that can result in the deportation of “smart kids that we have just trained.”)