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A little known candidate on a minor party line could end up playing a major role in this year's Buffalo's mayoral election.

Louis P. Corrigan, secretary of the Erie County Independence Party, will announce his candidacy Saturday on the steps of City Hall.

Few predict he will be mayor come Jan. 1, but as an Independence Party member, he easily would qualify for a party primary in September, allowing him to compete against any major party candidates backed by Independence Party leaders.

Corrigan was not available for comment, but Anthony L. Orsini, chairman of the Erie County Independence Party, noted that the 13-member Executive Committee will determine who receives the party endorsement. He also acknowledged that Corrigan could become a force in the primary.

"We will consider Lou and any other of the endorsed candidates," he said.

Corrigan, 69, is no stranger to politics. He competed as a Democrat in the County Legislature elections of 1989 and 1991, and challenged then-Rep. Henry J. Nowak of Buffalo in the 1990 Democratic primary.

His selection as the Independence candidate in November could upset efforts by major party candidates to secure the No. 3 spot on the ballot, which could prove influential in a competitive general election.

State Sen. Byron W. Brown, a Democrat who is so far the only announced candidate, is seeking Independence Party backing. Other major party figures such as Anthony M. Masiello, the Democratic incumbent, and Kevin J. Helfer, a Republican, also are expected to be interested in the party's support if and when they officially announce.

Businessman Steven A. Calvaneso, meanwhile, has scheduled a May 5 fund-raiser for his mayoral bid and expects to declare his candidacy May 10.

Calvaneso, a Democrat who owns several downtown businesses, said Thursday he will hold a $1,000-per-person event in Bacchus, his restaurant on Chippewa Street.

"I'm going to do it," he said, adding that he plans to run no matter what Masiello decides about pursuing a fourth term.

"Let the mayor decide what he's going to do after he sees what I'm going to do," he said.

Calvaneso said only an extremely disappointing turnout at the fund-raiser would derail his candidacy, adding he does not expect that. He also said he has received strong encouragement from many parts of the business community, which he expects to support his effort.


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