BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – It’s only February and already the race for Buffalo mayor is beginning to stir.
City Comptroller Mark Schroeder says he plans to make it official March 5.
“I’m very, very confident. I know that this is going to be a difficult race. I know I’m going to have to do everything right,” said Schroeder, a Democrat from South Buffalo.
Schroeder hopes to unseat three-term incumbent Mayor Byron Brown in a Democratic primary challenge.
While others have tried and didn’t fare so well, Schroeder says he has the name recognition and a vision for the city.
“I think we need to have a street mayor. A mayor who spends less time on the second floor of City Hall and more time on the streets and in the neighborhoods,” he said.
During an interview with News 4, Brown stopped short of declaring that he’s a candidate for mayor this year, although sources say he intends to run again.
What does he think of a likely challenge from Schroeder?
“It’s kind of funny. I’ve heard that he has announced that he’s going to announce. I’m going to leave the politics for someone else. I’m going to focus on progress,” Brown said.
Canisius College political scientist and Republican Erie County lawmaker Kevin Hardwick says Schroeder will need to bring his “A” game and generate some solid traction.
“Certainly he’s doing all the right things if you’re going to be a candidate. The question is will it be enough, and I would tend to doubt it,” Hardwick said.
“Schroeder is a strong candidate. He’s run city-wide before. He’s a pretty popular guy, but right now there’s not much going. There’s not much controversy in Buffalo,” he added.
Schroeder says he’s been to every single neighborhood in the city — and that he senses certain business districts are discouraged despite a surge in waterfront and downtown development.
“My take away is that they’re just not impressed, that they’re not getting the help they need. There’s not a comprehensive plan,” Schroeder explained.
Mayor Brown says he’s hearing the opposite feedback — that people from all parts of the city are excited about where the city’s headed.
“The medical campus and the waterfront are amazing engines of opportunity for job creation for people living all across the city of Buffalo. And so, we’re going to continue to focus on all areas of the city,” Brown said.
Brown maintains that the city has had record investments in neighborhoods across the city, and he says that’ll be his focus.
“I think my record will work in my favor. We’ve been able to accomplish amazing things,” he said.
Erie County legislator Betty Jean Grant, a Buffalo Democrat, says she would like to see more of an emphasis on the city’s East Side.
“I think the mayor has done a fantastic job when you talk about development of downtown, development of the medical corridor, development of Canalside,” said Grant. “But if you look east of Main Street, I think more work needs to be done by him and whoever becomes mayor in September.”