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What’s next for Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown?

"It was a political earthquake"
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Posted at 5:15 PM, Jun 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-29 16:30:39-04

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — What’s next for Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown?

Brown’s defeat in Tuesday’s democratic primary against activist India Walton stunned many.

“This was a haymaker — this is what happens when you have a low turn out election,” declared Carl Calabrese.

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Carl Calabrese, political strategist.

Calabrese, political strategist, is calling Walton’s win over the four-term mayor a “political earthquake.”

“What is your reaction to what you witnessed with Mayor Brown's loss in the primary?” Buckley asked.

“Shocked — stunned — just like every body else — talked to people on both sides of the political aisle today and there's unanimous agreement — everybody has the same reaction,” replied Calabrese.

Calabrese says the Brown campaign failed to ‘get the vote out’ for primary day and with low-voter turn out, it was the perfect storm for Walton to win.

Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, responding to Brown's loss, agrees.

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Governor Andrew Cuomo responding to questions about primary.

“Avoiding the campaign — this isn't really happening — doesn't work and then you wind up with a very low turn out and the only people who vote are the people who are organized by the opponent,” responded Cuomo.

Jacob Neiheisel, political science professor with the University at Buffalo, says he believes it was a mixture of factors that led to Brown's defeat.

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Jacob Neiheisel, political science professor with the University at Buffalo.

“It’s voter fatigue. It's just a general distrust of long serving politicians more generally — I think it's people who really want to shake things up and are looking for change,” Neiheisel described.

“We are going to make sure that each and every vote that every vote single vote is counted,” Brown declared.

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Mayor Byron Brown making a brief speech Tuesday night.

Mayor Brown did not concede the race and wants to wait until absentee votes are counted. He delivered a very short speech, appear on the stage at his primary watch party on Broadway in downtown Buffalo Tuesday night.

“You can say count every vote. We've seen that a lot of that from, in particular local candidates, who have been behind in the polls and for some of them it works. I just don't see that happening right here — absent a big departure from what we've seen in the past,” said Neiheisel.

On Tuesday night, the mayor's spokesman told me Brown's team would be meeting to explore a strategy for November where he could consider becoming a write in candidate.

“Will he be able to be a write in candidate?” Buckley questioned.

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Mayor Brown's campaign event Tuesday night.

“I believe so. Anyone can write in any name when you go into the booth — you don't have to file petitions or establish a line to do that — you know it's a high-risk strategy,” remarked Calabrese.

But the political experts tell me brown can not run on another party line.

“Is there any chance he could end up on the GOP line?” Buckley asked.

“No, legally, I think all of the deadlines for that type of political maneuvering are over. There’s no one on the line. They didn’t endorse anybody,” Calabrese answered.

7 Eyewitness News reached out to the Brown team Wednesday to request an interview, but we were told "nothing planned right now."