Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: email@example.com
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown is in a competitive Democratic primary to keep his job tomorrow against Council member Michael Kearns. The only factor reducing the suspense is that if Brown loses he gets another chance to win in November. The Buffalo News explains:
This year's primary race ranks as especially important because, for the first time since it was founded in the 1850s, the Republican Party will field no candidate for mayor. As a result, if Brown wins Tuesday, the race will be over. If Kearns wins, a general election contest still will result since Brown is a candidate on the Conservative, Independence and Working Families parties' lines.
Just weeks ago, Brown was considered the heavy favorite as he faced the little-known Kearns with a $1.1 million campaign fund, a City Hall army, volunteers from his political club Grassroots and all the advantages of incumbency. But the Erie County Democratic Party has made no endorsement in the contest, Chairman Leonard R. Lenihan's organization has endorsed nobody in the race, eliminating a substantial force that is normally active on Primary Day.
And rocked by a series of revelations by The Buffalo News highlighting his administration's handling of federal development funds -- as well as his association with Leonard Stokes, a former basketball star who ended up in the mayor's office after getting ticketed for having a stolen handicapped parking sticker -- the mayor has had to fend off a rejuvenated Kearns.
SurveyUSA has a new poll that shows Brown leading Kearns 51%-44%. SurveyUSA also reports that the electorate is highly polarized along racial lines -- Brown is black, Kearns is white.
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