Joe Lhota has defeated John Catsimatidis to become the Republican Party nominee for New York City mayor.

Lhota, who was a deputy mayor under Rudolph Giuliani, had 52 percent of the vote with 81 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday night, according to EyeWitness News 7. Catsimatidis, a billionaire grocery store magnate, had 41 percent, and George McDonald, head of a nonprofit to help the homeless, had 7 percent, the news channel reported.

While deputy mayor, Lhota, a former head of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, was praised for steering the MTA through the catastrophic Superstorm Sandy. Lhota led the polls throughout the campaign. He will face the Democratic nominee on Nov. 5. The candidates are vying to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who will leave office after serving 12 years as NYC mayor.