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Low-key campaign cost Mayor Byron Brown reelection bid

Walton's campaign sent 146% more announcements
Posted at 6:16 PM, Jun 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-29 16:22:10-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — When political newcomer India Walton shocked the political establishment last week by defeating four-term mayor Byron Brown, political observers pointed directly to Brown’s campaign.

“What we saw from the Brown campaign is that they didn't engage,” political strategist Jack O’Donnell told 7 Eyewitness News following the primary.

There remains uncertainty about who was running Brown’s campaign, which listed only a P.O. Box and no address or phone number for campaign headquarters.

Since announcing a reelection bid in February, Brown’s campaign sent only five emails to local news outlets. None were received in March, April or May. And none of the emails received by WKBW-TV included a name or contact information for a campaign manager.

Walton’s campaign sent 32 emails and announcements, according to an analysis by 7 Eyewitness News.

Neither of the staff members listed on Brown's campaign emails responded Monday to interview requests about the campaign.

The city’s Niagara District overwhelmingly voted for Walton, where voters like Janet Ramrez said they rarely saw Mayor Brown in person.

“You can see the radio, Facebook, social media, but come here to the West Side and see...not too much,” said Ramrez.

Walton won her home district with 73% of the vote, where Brown won his with only 55%.

Luke Matthews said he also noticed what appeared to be a low-key campaign by the mayor.

“I mean I saw signs and stuff, but not many. You’d think more for a city like Buffalo, for a mayoral campaign,” Matthews said.

Matthews said if the campaign is any indication, he’s supportive of a chief executive who shows that she wants the office more than her opponent.

“The previous mayor not doing much campaigning - it shows a lack of care and interest - so I feel like it’s good to have a go-getter as a new mayor.”