BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — When the dust settled before midnight Tuesday, Mark Schroeder was 1 and 1.
Despite losing the Democrat line to three-term incumbent Mayor Byron Brown, Schroeder handily won the Reform Party line, besting write-in candidates and Ashleigh B. Somers.
That means he’s technically eligible to run on that line in November, again against Brown.
But Schroeder, the city comptroller from south Buffalo, said it was still too early to decide whether he would be up to the challenge, or bow to Primary voters.
“I didn’t even know I was in a primary in the Reform line,” he said. “So I haven’t even analyzed it. And out of respect to the party, because I was the endorsed candidate and I will be speaking to them in the coming days. But tonight is the Primary night and I wanted to focus on this race and what we did over the past six months and thanking my friends and family.”
Brown won 51 percent of the 25,968 Primary voters, according to unofficial results by the Erie County Board of Elections. Schroeder amassed 36 percent and former Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant finished with 13 percent. Schroeder said he called Brown to concede the race just before 10:30 p.m.
Schroeder’s supporters erupted when the first results were released shortly after 9:30 p.m. — albeit just 8 percent — when he jumped out to an early lead.
That enthusiasm faded quickly, as he would lose the lead, and fall further behind with each batch of precincts released.
But Schroeder said multiple times in his concession speech that he believes his campaign came out the victor in several areas, especially as an underdog challenger who only launched a campaign against Brown in March.
“I’m pragmatic. I know that the race is over. I know that the mayor won. But I told the folks here tonight that we won. The reason why we won tonight is because we challenged a 12-year, incumbent mayor. No politician in this town should have an easy way of it.”
Schroeder said Tuesday night his campaign message of boosting neighborhoods while maintaining focus on the city’s downtown development was just as solid on social media as it was in face to face interaction.
“We thought right from the beginning that, if I was going to run for mayor, we had to have a very clear message. I’ve seen things that have to change, and I decided to stand up and go door to door and ask people to vote for me. And we waged a very spirited campaign,” he said.