Grant ‘strongly’ considering run for Buffalo mayor


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown may face another challenger in his race for re-election.

Betty Jean Grant says she’s “strongly considering” a run for Buffalo mayor.

“It came from Facebook discussion. People said, ‘Why don’t you run, and I said, well, why not’ just bantering, and then it got a little bit more serious,” said Grant, an Erie County legislator.

The East Side Democrat says she’ll take a few weeks to make a decision.

This week, Mayor Brown announced that he will seek a fourth term as the city’s top executive.

City Comptroller Mark Schroeder is expected to announce his candidacy for mayor in a little over a week from now.

If Grant jumps in — that could mean a three-way Democratic mayoral primary in September.

“That’s probably going to cut into Byron Brown’s support in the African-American community, thus benefitting Mark Schroeder,” said Kevin Hardwick, a political science professor at Canisius College.

“Betty is a good legislator. She’s a fierce advocate for her constituents,” added Hardwick, a Republican who serves in the county legislature with Grant. “She has a good heart and she’s shown an ability to garner votes in Democratic primaries.”

Grant, who’s no stranger to politics having served on the Buffalo Board of Education and Common Council in the past, says what really got her thinking about a possible run for mayor was a recent remark made by Brown in which he said, ”We can demonstrate that the East Side community has gotten its fair share of city resources.”

Grant says that statement “didn’t sit well” with her.

She argues that Brown’s focus has been on waterfront and downtown development, while East Side locations like Jefferson Avenue need attention.

“If you go down now you have mainly barbershops. You have a couple of bars. You got the library, and you have the communications center. And that’s about it,” she said.

But Brown says any criticism that his administration has ignored the East Side doesn’t hold water.

“We’ve outlined hundreds of millions of dollars that have been spent on the East Side for affordable housing, for parks and recreation, summer employment for youth, infrastructure,” Brown said this week.

Grant has something else to consider — it’s an election year for county legislators.

She’ll need to decide whether to run for re-election as a county lawmaker or give it up to run for mayor.

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