Joe Lhota, George McDonald and John Catsimatidis meet in first New York City mayoral debate

August 11, 2013 10:56:37 AM PDT
Repbulican candidates for mayor, Joe Lhota, George McDonald and John Catsimatidis took part in their first debate at our WABC-TV studios on Friday.

Lhota is the former head of the MTA, McDonald is the founder of the DOE fund, and Catsimatidis is the owner of Gristedes grocery chain.

Asked how he'd like to be remembered as mayor, Lhota says he'd like his legacy to be job creation. McDonald agreed. Catsimatids said he wanted to make his own legacy on all of the major topics and to help businesses grow.

The Republican mayoral candidates are clearly tired of talking about Anthony Weiner.

"He's turned this mayoral race into a circus. He must go," Lhota said.

"Our kids, who look at the mayor as a hero - they can't look up to Weiner," Castimatidis said.

"If he really had an interest in improving the city of New York, he wouldn't expose us to explain to our children what he did that made him a celebrity," McDonald added.

The debate was absent of any real fireworks. The candidates applied a novel idea by sticking to the issues. Each promised to create new jobs and not raise taxes.

"The next step to becoming Detroit would be raising our taxes in new York city. They are as high as can be," Lhota said.

"I'd like to contrast Joe who raised the tolls on the Verrazano Bridge. When he was at the MTA, he also wanted to raise the commuter tax," McDonald said.

"Our taxes are way out of control. (Taxes) on small businesses just out of control I'm going to use my size 13 shoe to put my foot down," Castimatidis said.

Early on in the debate, Lhota praised Bloomberg for his 12 years of work for the city as Mayor. He said he would like to continue what Bloomberg has done with education, but said he would leave topics like the soda ban up to individuals.

McDonald said he thinks Bloomberg has improved the city in every way, but his number one priority would be job creation.

Catsimatidis said "By and large I've been a fan of Mayor Bloomberg... I'm a fan of keeping our city safe."

The primary is set for Sept. 10, 2013.

The Democratic candidates will have their first debate on Tuesday, August 13th at 7pm on Channel 7, 7online and our News Apps.

Debate sponsors also include Noticias 41 Univision, the Daily News and the League of Women Voters.

The primary is set for Sept. 10, 2013.