GOP Eyes MTA Chief For NYC Mayor

Even the harshest critics of the MTA say they are impressed that New York City’s sprawling century-old subway system is almost back to normal operations so soon after suffering the worst damage in its history. Some local GOP leaders are now looking to MTA head Joe Lhota as a possible 2013 mayoral candidate

The five GOP borough bosses met Wednesday night with former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, and two of them described him as a unique candidate for the party. A number of prominent Republicans and civic leaders, however, are encouraging Lhota to run, and the five chairmen said they would still want to hear from him. Sources close to Lhota — who served as city budget director and deputy mayor under former Mayor Rudy Giuliani — said the movement is “growing in leaps and bounds.” So far, Lhota is sitting back, watching it all unfold. It’s not clear whether he wants to run, and to do so he’d be required by law to leave his MTA post. But if he does want to run for City Hall, he must move quickly — the numbers game is turning against him. Carrion, who is also a former urban affairs czar in the Obama administration, recently left the Democratic Party and is seeking the GOP line as an independent.

The presumed Democratic candidate is openly lesbian City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.