John Catsimatidis picked up the endorsement Thursday of the state Legislature's top Republican in his bid for the GOP nomination in the New York City mayor's race.

Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) said the grocery magnate was the "best qualified" among the handful of Republican hopefuls. Skelos lauded Catsimatidis' resume in making the endorsement.

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"John is a lifelong resident of New York City. He was educated in its public school system and with hard work and determination built successful businesses that have made him a leader of the city's business community," Skelos said in a statement. "John Catsimatidis knows what it takes to create jobs; he's created tens of thousands in the private sector and will do the same as mayor."

Catsimatidis is locked in a GOP battle with former Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman Joe Lhota and Doe Fund founder George McDonald. Adolfo Carrion Jr., a former Bronx borough president and an Independence Party member, is also trying to get on the GOP ballot.

Skelos' endorsement comes just a week after former Gov. George Pataki announced his support. It also came hours before Catsimatidis was slated to square off in a candidates' debate in Manhattan.