In the Lucrative Bronx, Thompson Grabs Field

NEW YORK -

Bill Thompson now appears to be the overwhelming favorite in the Bronx, after grabbing top endorsements in the only borough where none of the candidates have a home advantage.

With the Latino vote up for grabs, Bronx Borough President Ruben Díaz Jr., the highest ranking Hispanic elected official in the city, announced Tuesday he will be giving his coveted backing to Thompson, the 2009 Democratic nominee who lost to Mayor Michael Bloomberg by a whisker.

“Bill Thompson was the right man to be out mayor four years ago, and he remains the right man for the job in 2013,” Diaz said. “Bill has a long record of accomplishment, and will be a strong mayor for all five boroughs.”

Meanwhile, the Liberal Party said Tuesday that they are throwing their backing behind John Catsimatidis. That offers him a spot on November’s ballot regardless how his quest for the GOP nomination goes.

Party Chairman Jack Olchin says the party sees Catsimatidis as an “uncommon common man.” A Greek immigrant, Catsimatidis got his start with the Gristedes grocery chain and then got into oil and real estate.

Catsimatidis has been making the case that his status as a former Democrat and the promise of spending a million dollars a month will help him lure Democratic voters who wouldn’t otherwise vote for a Republican candidate. The Liberal Party endorsement helps bolster his case, giving Democrats the chance to vote for him without having to vote on the GOP line.

Catsimatidis’s supermarket chain came under scathing attack by The New York Times Monday, who called the grocery, “the unloved uncle of the New York City grocery scene.”

“Garishly lighted, expensively priced and home to a dusty décor that several Yelp users have labeled ‘depressing,’ Gristedes has suffered mightily in the face of flashier rivals like Whole Foods,” Michael Grynbaum wrote in the Times.

Even Catsimatidis’s daughter, a regular shopper, is also a regular complainer. But Catsimatidis insists that the chain has lost his interest and he only keeps it alive in order not to lay off its thousands of employees.

“The joke around town was that if I didn’t have Gristedes I’d be higher on the Forbes list,” he said.

But he was none too happy about the Times piece at the press conference Tuesday.

“I’d say ‘ugh.’ I’d say ‘ugh,’” he said.