Fernando Mateo, who has long headed the state Federation of Taxi Drivers and more recently the Bodegas Association of America, is eyeing a run for the Republican nomination for mayor, according to The New York Post. Mateo said he believes NYC is heading in the wrong direction and complained that too many of the current candidates running for mayor are lifelong politicians who don’t understand the day-to-day struggles of working New Yorkers – particularly those who are small business merchants and their employees.

“Crime is a huge issue,” said Mateo, 62, who describes himself as an urban Republican. “You can’t welcome people to this city if it’s not safe.”

Mateo said, as Mayor, he would push to increase the number of police in the city, and would work to keep wealthy taxpayers local, not run them out with tax hikes.

Mateo is not without baggage, The Post reported. His name surfaced in Mayor de Blasio’s pay-to-play fundraising scandal, hitting up pals to raise funds for the mayor’s shuttered not-for-profit group. Mateo was not charged with any crime – and he insists he didn’t do anything wrong, claiming he was a victim.

“The mayor called up and said he was desperate for money. I helped him. I’m a victim of this administration,” Mateo said.

Source: New York Post