Gristedes Supermarket billionaire John Catsimatidis wants to be New York’s next mayor — for just 99 cents! The grocer-turned-magnate announced his bid to succeed Mayor Bloomberg yesterday, with it came news that he’d work for less than Bloomberg’s $1 a year salary. A Bloomberg supporter, the “Clinton Democrat-turned Romney Republican” paints himself as a modest billionaire, who supports gay marriage, is against the transit congestion pricing, and considers pizza a powerful negotiation tool.

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Catsimatidis says his ploy to become the worst paid Mayor stems from his wish to continue the work that Bloomberg has done over the last few years, giving back to the city. In fact, Catsimatidis is such a Bloomberg fan that he considered running in 2009, but dropped out when he learned that the Mayor would be running for a third term.

A self-made billionaire, Catsimatidis made his fortune with grocery stores, starting himself as a simple grocer and turning the business into a thriving chain of supermarkets including Gristedes. This experience has made him a union supporter, which could win the votes of teachers and bus drivers in the region.

It’s too soon to really know how Catsimatidis will stand on issues important to voters, though has made two splashes: one joking that the key to contract negotiation is to lock opposing parties in a room with hot New York pizza, claiming that by the third slice, everyone gets more reasonable; the other is his interest in reviving the old tradition of the World’s Fair, which was held in New York in 1939 and 1964.

Catsimatidis, who will run against former MTA Chairman Joe Lhota for the Republican vote, has already put $1 million of his own money into his campaign, and he plans to invest whatever it takes.

Via DNA Info

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