Where did Mayor Byron Brown's campaign go wrong?

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Posted at 6:20 PM, Jun 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-29 16:27:22-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown has been in office since 2006, but on Tuesday night, he lost his shot as this year's Democratic candidate. So, where did Brown go wrong in his fight for a fifth term?

Both Political Strategist, Jack O'Donnell, and UB Political Science Professor, Jacob Neiheisel, believe Brown did not engage enough with voters.

"What we saw from the Brown campaign is they didn't engage," O’Donnell said. "The biggest thing was talking to voters. Talking to voters that like you and getting them to the polls and making sure they know there's a race!"

"Incumbents are safe because they are doing the kind of things that make them safe like being visible, campaigning, and doing the kind of things people want to see them doing,” Neiheisel said. “If you're not out there doing those things, things can go horribly wrong as we saw for the mayor."

Brown didn't engage with his opponents either. He told 7 Eyewitness News Senior Reporter Eileen Buckley earlier this month that he did not have time to debate this year.

My time is precious,” Brown said. “I don't have the same time who people who are doing nothing but campaigning have."

Yet, he did participate in debates in 2013 and 2017. Political Expert, Carl Calabrese, said it was smart for Brown not to debate.

"It’s a political, low-key strategy not to debate a candidate who is not well known," Calabrese said. “You lose by giving your challenger a forum they couldn't afford on their own."

So then, what did India Walton's campaign do right? O'Donnell said Walton didn't use the word "socialist" much until after Tuesday's election.

"It was a simple message. It was not that she was a Democratic Socialist,” O’Donnell said. “It was mostly a biographical message around her and her story."