As Republican Joe Lhota filed paperwork today to run for New York City mayor, he stressed he would be different from his former boss, Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
"I am a completely different person from Mayor Giuliani both on personality, on approach, on education and background. I'm not an attorney, I'm a businessman,” Lhota said in an interview.
Lhota held a number of posts in Giuliani's administration, including budget director and deputy mayor of operations.
When Lhota resigned from leading the MTA last month to explore a mayoral campaign, Giuliani was out front making the pitch for a Lhota campaign, and his early campaign advisors are also Giuliani alumni.
“Though I worked for the mayor and very much served in his administration, I will tell you my approach is a little bit different,” Lhota said.
A Quinnipiac poll this week found New York voters are mixed on whether Giuliani's backing is a good thing. Forty-two percent said it would help a candidate, but 37 percent said it would hurt.
Lhota said that his experience in government and the private sector – including stints as an investment banking and a top executive at Cablevision – sets him apart from the crowded field of mayoral hopefuls.
But, for now, he acknowledged that he has some catching up to do.
“Priority number one right now is fundraising,” he said.