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Will Joe Lhota Run For Mayor? Giuliani Says MTA Chair 'Exactly What NYC Needs'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Preparing New York City for future storms will be among the tasks facing the city's next mayor.

There is heavy-hitting support for Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joe Lhota, a man who got high marks for his handling of Hurricane Sandy.

If a bunch of the city's movers and shakers have their way, Lhota will go from making the trains run on time to keeping the city on the right track.

"He'd be exactly what New York City needs," former mayor Rudy Giuliani told CBS 2's Marcia Kramer on Thursday.

It was high praise from the man once dubbed "America's Mayor. Giuliani told Kramer he would love to see Lhota, a Republican, succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"Could this guy be a great mayor? Yeah, absolutely. He's got all the talents," Giuliani said.

Lhota was at Giuliani's side after 9/11 as first deputy mayor.

"He was with me for 40 straight days, 24 hours a day. So I saw him under pressure. He handled September 11th heroically, so it wasn't a big surprise to me to see how well he handled Sandy with the MTA," Giuliani said.

Lhota has been widely applauded for restoring most of the subway system after Hurricane Sandy, but he also has extensive experience in business, banking and city government. He is also the son of an NYPD lieutenant.

Lhota was tight-lipped Thursday while in Washington D.C., trying to lobby for repair funds.

"As you know, under the public authorities law, I'm not allowed to even talk about running for office," Lhota said.

But Lhota, who would have to quit the MTA to run, conceded that running for mayor is a possibility.

"I think the time will come when I make a decision," Lhota said.

Brooklyn Republican Chair Craig Eaton said Lhota isn't the only new name being floated for the Republican nomination. Former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion has also been mentioned.

Eaton said if Lhota is going to run, he has to make a decision soon.

"After the new year, I think the Democrats are going to move forward with their races, move forward with debates and I think it's incumbent that the Republican party have a candidate," Eaton said.

The wild card is whether the state Legislature moves the primary from September to June. That would put pressure on any candidate to make a decision sooner rather than later.

Others mulling a run for the Republican nod are supermarket magnate John Catsimatides, publisher Tom Allon and homeless advocate George McDonald.

Sources also told CBS 2 to not count out Police Commissioner Ray Kelly as a possible candidate.

Who would you like to see run for mayor of New York City?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below...

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