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Money In Politics:

Byron Brown’s campaign donors

Published June 8, 2021

Byron Brown is seeking a record fifth term as mayor of Buffalo. He faces two challengers in the June 22 Democratic primary, the contest that effectively decides the race: India Walton, a community activist who is running a vigorous campaign; and LeCandice Durham, a City Hall employee who has been largely invisible. Ken Kruly, Investigative Post researcher and publisher of Politics and Other Stuff, reviewed Brown’s latest campaign finance disclosure report filed May 21 to see who is bankrolling the mayor’s campaign.


Brown's top donors

Donor Identification Amount
Amy Rittling Attorney $ 5,000
Michael Marino Physician $ 5,000
AFSCME Public employee union $ 5,000
Gregory Daniel Physician/developer $ 5,000
Timothy Thill Hospitality $ 5,000
WD PAC Engineering firm $ 5,000
Norstar Building Corp. Real estate $ 5,000
Liro GPS & Survey PC Land surveyers $ 5,000
Samuel Savarino Developer $ 5,000
Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman Law firm $ 5,000
AP Benefit Advisors/William Brothers Consultants $ 4,000
Dansa & D’Arata, Soucia LLP CPAs and consultants $ 3,500
Aaron Siegel Developer $ 3,000
William Lawley Insurance $ 2,500
Steven Butler Businessman $ 2,500
Hodgson Russ Law firm $ 2,000
Philllips Lytle Law firm $ 2,000
Gail Morelle Construction $ 2,000
William Renaldo Fire commissioner $ 2,000
Michael Hughes Healthcare $ 2,000
John Bair Attorney $ 2,000
Ledge Creek Development, Inc. Developer $ 1,500
Friends of Crystal Peoples-Stokes Campaign committee $ 1,200
Source: State Board of Elections, 31 day pre-primary report.

Talking Points

  • Between mid-January and mid-May, the Brown for Buffalo campaign raised $178,620.  As of May 17, Brown’s campaign committee had $274,469 cash on hand.
  • Over the past year, Brown’s campaign committee raised $336,545 — a relatively low sum for an incumbent running for re-election. In a comparable period leading up to the 2017 Democratic primary, Brown raised $555,667.
  • Nonetheless Brown’s donations over the past year and the cash on hand far exceeds Walton’s treasury. As of May 17, Walton had raised $94,727 and had $53,296 on hand.
  • Approximately one-third of Brown’s recent donations came from people who are employed by city government or an agency or authority the mayor controls. Those individuals accounted for more than $55,000 in donations.
  • In the current reporting period, 23 individuals, businesses and organizations gave sums exceeding $1,000. Forty-five more gave $1,000. These donors include City Hall employees as well as businesses and individuals who do business with the city: law firms, real-estate developers, employee benefits consultants, and engineering and construction firms. 
  • Contrary to fundraising in past mayoral campaigns, donations from public and private labor unions were small. AFSCME donated $5,000 out of its national headquarters in Washington. The city’s police and fire commissioners contributed to the Brown campaign. The unions representing their departments’ employees did not. 
  • The Brown campaign’s largest expenses during the January-May period were for signs ($9,730 to an Ohio firm); print ads ($7,449 to the Buffalo News); and printing ($5,360 to Partners Press). As of May 17, Brown for Buffalo had not aired any TV ads or commissioned any polling, as it had done by this point during the mayor’s 2017 re-election campaign.

Podcast

Ken Kruly and Geoff Kelly discuss the premier races in the upcoming primary elections: mayor of Buffalo and Erie County Sheriff.

Listen to Podcast