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Republican George McDonald running for NYC mayor

Deepti Hajela, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- The field of candidates looking to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg as mayor of New York City officially got a little bigger Thursday when the head of a nonprofit that helps homeless people kicked off his Republican campaign.

The founder and president of the Doe Fund, George McDonald, made the announcement at Grand Central Terminal.

"I am running for mayor because I believe we can make this a better city — keeping our streets safe, making our schools better and creating jobs," McDonald said in his announcement. "Together we will keep New York a beacon of hope and opportunity for all."

Bloomberg, the Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent billionaire businessman, ends his third term at the end of the year.

McDonald founded the Doe Fund more than 25 years ago. It tries to help homeless people get jobs, housing and other services they need.

In announcing his candidacy, McDonald said his focus would be on creating jobs.

"I'm running for mayor because I understand the power of a job. I know and have seen firsthand how hard work and personal responsibility can have a transformational effect on a person's life," he said.

Among Republicans, McDonald joins Tom Allon, a publisher who switched from Democrat to Republican and who announced his candidacy in October.

Others could join the field. In December, Republican Joseph Lhota left his post as chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to explore running for mayor. Lhota, who worked as a high-level aide to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, said he would announce sometime this month whether he was entering the race.

Another possible contestant is former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion. The former Democrat left the party and is now unaffiliated. He might run as an independent on the Republican and Independence Party lines.

On the Democratic side, several veterans of city politics are expected to run in the September primary.

Among them are City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Comptroller John Liu, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Councilman Sal Albanese, and former Comptroller Bill Thompson.