John Catsimatides, Supermarket Mogul, Latest Name in Swelling Mayoral Race

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Day by day, the wide open upcoming race to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg is getting more entertaining, and morphing into a new year's gift for reporters, political junkies, and maybe the public.

Last week, Mayor Giuliani's former deputy mayor, Joseph Lhota, a man not known for conversational subtlety, confirmed he was running as a Republican. This week, we learned that supermarket mogul John Catsimatides, an old-fashioned boot strap guy turned billionaire, put up $1 million of his own money to start building a campaign operation. Local newspaper publisher Tom Allon has raised $234,000. Doe Fund founder George McDonald has declared, but has yet to report any fundraising numbers.

On the Democratic side, former city Comptroller Bill Thompson, who almost beat Bloomberg in the 2009 election has raised more than $1 million. On-again, off-again Bloomberg favorite Christine Quinn, the City Council speaker who twisted arms to get Bloomie his bumpy third term, has raised $5.6 million.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has raised $2.7 million. City Comptroller John Liu has raised $2.6 million, an impressive number when you consider that his campaign has been under federal investigation. Last week, he jokingly referred to himself as the "embattled John Liu" in an email about a campaign fundraiser. Former City Councilman Sal Albanese and retired fire Lt. Kevin Coenen are also running.

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