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Brown won't run on Democratic primary ballot

Gillian D. Brown's bid to get back on the Democratic Party primary ballot for City Court judge was rejected Thursday by a judge who concluded he did not gather enough valid signatures. Brown vowed to continue campaigning for the post as a Working Families Party-endorsed candidate.

State Supreme Court Justice Joseph R. Glownia refused to grant Brown's request for a hearing at which he could challenge the Erie County Board of Election's Aug. 11 ruling invalidating his Democratic Party primary petitions. The board ruled he was 329 signatures short of the 2,000 valid signatures needed.

In refusing to order a court hearing, the judge cited the lack of signed affidavits of registered voters claiming they signed Brown's designating petitions.

Jeffrey Marion, attorney for Katie M. Bartolotta, the Democrat who filed objections to the Brown petitions with the Elections Board, contended that the petitions contain the signature of one voter who died last year and a doctor who insists she did not sign the petition.

Over Brown's objections, Marion told the judge the doctor who signed an affidavit denying signing a Brown petition is concerned professionally because she signs drug prescriptions and fears her signature may be illegally used by someone.

Glownia did not rule on the fraud claims that Brown, who was not personally accused of participating in voter-signature fraud, contended had not been raised by his election opponents until Thursday.

After the hearing, Brown, a practicing attorney and the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority's former interim executive director, said he is unlikely to appeal Glownia's ruling to the state's higher courts.

Brown stressed that he intends to continue to campaign as an endorsed candidate of the Working Families Party with the hope that he wins one of the four seats up for election in that party's primary so he can remain on the November general election ballot.

In addition to Brown, the candidates in the Working Families primary for the $113,900-a-year, 10-year City Court judgeships are incumbents David M. Manz and Robert T. Russell Jr., each seeking their third terms; incumbent Joseph A. Fiorella, seeking his second term; and City Court Judge Susan M. Eagan, seeking her first full term after she was appointed by the mayor.

Diane Y. Wray, a local real estate and housing attorney, and local attorney Anthony L. Pendergrass, also are running in the Democratic Party primary.

email: mgryta@buffnews.com