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Mayoral primary over almost before it began

It seems like the campaign for mayor just started in earnest and already it's primary day. What's a reporter to do but offer these last minute tidbits.

Let's start with contributions to the candidates.

For the record, Mayor Brown, since taking office, has raised a whopping $1,772,340. Here are the contributors to his Brown For Buffalo committee; ditto for his Leadership Council.

I've spent a little time looking over the list of contributors and a few things jumped out at me.

For starters, Brown is being bankrolled by three interest groups: businesses and lobbyists who do business with the city, or want to; and city employees.

Modern Disposal and its sister companies have given Brown more than anyone, $28,200. Modern is also one of the city's biggest vendors, having been paid $7.15 million the last year-and-a-half alone.

Hmmmm.

Brown, as of 11 days ago, the latest reporting period, had spent $722,499, which left him a little more than $1 million in the bank. He no doubt has spent a wad of that cash in the past week-and-a-half.

Kearns, meanwhile, had raised $153,909 as of 11 days ago and spent $114,661. Here's his list of contributors.

Big buck contributors? None to speak of. Certainly nothing along the lines of Brown.

But - and this is a big but - Kearns has said the money has been rolling in the past week or so, especially since Carl Paladino and his deep pockets decided to enter the fray. State election law requires candidates, during the 11 days leading up to the primary to report any contributions of $1,000 or more.

Kearns, however, has failed to report any additional contributions, according to the Board of Elections Web site about 7 p.m. last night.

Mickey, this is not cool.

In fact, it's against the law. Which is not a good resume builder when you're presenting yourself as a reformer who is going to clean up City Hall.

Yeah, yeah, I know you're busy campaigning. But it's no excuse. Voters have a right to know who is jumping in with big bucks at the last minute. I mean, Brown's people have reported $14,000 in 11th-hour contributions.

Then there's the matter of polls. The numbers are flying, showing Brown with anywhere from a 7 to 11 percent lead, depending on the poll.

Here's what WGRZ reported last night, based on its latest robo-poll:

The survey shows Kearns has a chance to win Tuesday's primary, but incumbent Brown appears to have the better chance as a spirited campaign enters its final day. Brown gets 51%, Kearns 44%, in Survey USA's final poll for WGRZ-TV.

The electorate is sharply divided along racial lines and across income levels, and any mis-measurement of the size of the relative constituencies could result in an upset. Brown, who is black, gets 90% of the black vote. Kearns, who is white, gets two thirds of the white vote, but loses one-third to Brown.

I did my own decidedly unscientific survey of this blog's readers yesterday and, well, I think it says more about the folks  who read my blog than it does the electorate.

As of 7:45 a.m. today, Kearns was favored by 69 percent of the 318 who participated in the poll, while Brown picked up 14 percent. Another 17 percent said the heck with both of them.

Finally, a word or ten about what the Buffalo Pundit has termed "Stokesgate."

You know, the trials and tribulations of Buffalo's most famous restaurateur this side of Frank and Theresa. Only a lot more notorious.

The mayor has been hootin' and hollerin' about reports that Stokes was somehow able to get a meeting with the mayor while police were in the middle of questioning him about the stolen handicapped parking permit he was ticketed for. Stokes stopped talking to the cops, started talking with the mayor and before you know it, no more cops, no more questions. 

Brown has refused to answer questions, claiming its all "dirty politics." He's gone so far as to challenge the police who were involved to tell their story if they have one.

Well, it turns out one of the principle cops has in fact asked to discuss what he knows. And, get this, the police brass - who, I must note, work for Brown - have told him to dummy up.

Reports Luke Moretti of WIVB TV:

Buffalo Police Detective Sergeant Thomas Donovan wants to talk about the Leonard Stokes incident. Sources tell News 4 Donovan is the one who transported Stokes to Mayor Byron Brown's office January 8th 2007 after Stokes was detained for possessing a stolen handicapped parking permit.

Here's what the mayor said Thursday.

Mayor Brown said, "No officer has come forward. Have you seen a single officer come forward and say anything?"

But Sgt. Donovan tells News 4 he'd be willing to talk if he gets approval from top police brass. They have said no, citing department policy involving an on-going investigation.

Of course, the police talk all the time about ongoing investigations.

I'm sure we haven't heard the last of this, however.

With all this said, get yourselves off to the polls if you haven't already.

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City Hall | Politics
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