While many who follow Buffalo politics consider Tuesday night's Democratic primary the race that effectively settled the campaign for mayor, Byron Brown stated he is focusing on winning the general election in November. The incumbent mayor, though, savored his primary win and what many believe is a clear path to his fourth term in office.
Voter turnout was low in Buffalo, but Brown captured more than half of the votes cast. According to unofficial results posted by the Erie County Board of Elections, Brown earned 13,346 votes, or 51 percent, edging challengers Mark Schroeder by approximately 4,000 votes and Betty Jean Grant by roughly 10,000 votes.
He would not say if he felt it was enough to give him a clear mandate to continue his agenda.
"I'm going to savor the victory tonight but we're going to go back to work tomorrow," Mayor Brown said. "We work every day to build support from the people of Buffalo. We're going to continue to do that and certainly not take anything for granted."
Some wondered if Schroeder and Grant would grab more votes in neighborhoods where Brown has previously done well. Schroeder, the City Comptroller, took steps to reach out to East Side neighborhoods where some have wondered when they may be next for Buffalo's economic redevelopment. Grant made her presence known in the city's Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood earlier this year, garnering support for one of that district's cherished landmarks, the Central Terminal, as a candidate to reopen as the city's future train station. The former train terminal was passed over, and many in Broadway-Fillmore were left feeling bitter.
Brown, though, told his audience that from his very first days in office, he has worked to improve and strengthen "every corner of our city."
"I did this for you, Buffalo. For our children and for our children’s children," Brown said during his victory speech. "Today in every neighborhood city wide, our strength can be measured by our progress."
The incumbent was flanked by numerous elected officials, from Common Council members to county legislators to local representatives in state government. Even Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul was among those who spoke in support of Brown on his night of victory.
"Tonight, mayor, your city stands with you," Hochul said.
Mayor Brown, in a message to those who supported his opponents, said now is not a time for division.
"I say to every resident of the City of Buffalo, we want to reach out to them," he said. "We want to work with them. And when we work together, we are a much stronger community and that's what we need to do going forward."
WBFO's Nick Lippa contributed to this report.