AP: Joseph Lhota, former MTA chairman, takes GOP nod in NYC mayoral primary

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Joseph Lhota has nabbed the Republican line in the New York City mayoral race, according to the Associated Press.

With Lhota holding on to an 11-point lead over grocery chain owner John Catsimatidis and 77 percent precincts reporting, the AP called the GOP primary in Lhota’s favor just before 11 p.m.

Lhota (pictured) was Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s pick to lead the Metropolitan Transit Authority in 2011. Lhota resigned late last year as his political stock rose during the response to Superstorm Sandy before he ultimately tossed his hat in the Republican mayoral race.

Meanwhile, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio was leading with 39.5 percent of the vote in the crowded Democratic primary with 79 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday. If de Blasio fails to reach the critical 40-percent mark, he appears likely to face off against former New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson, who has garnered about 26 percent of the vote thus far.

Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer — who is trying to make his political comeback after resigning amid a prostitution scandal in 2008 — was trailing Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer for the city comptroller’s seat. Stringer had a lead of more than 13,000 votes — a 52-48 percent lead — over Spitzer with 79 percent of election districts reporting late Tuesday.

(AP Photo / Seth Wenig)

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