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TV spots, forums and attacks on tap as mayoral campaigns ramp up

Don't be surprised to see the Buffalo comptroller on your doorstep this week.

Mark J.F. Schroeder already has visited thousands of homes this summer as he challenges incumbent Byron W. Brown for mayor in the September Democratic primary.

And Brown, along with Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant, could be expected to/is also looking to ramp up activity this week as July heads into its home stretch and the Sept. 12 primary looms closer on the electoral calendar.

This is the time when the candidates for mayor of Buffalo are getting serious. They have filed their designating petitions and qualified for the ballot, reported their first campaign totals to the state Board of Elections, are now honing their strategies and are appearing at as many public events as possible.

Here is a rundown of what to expect from the three major mayoral candidates beginning Monday:

Schroeder

"We've got a lot going on, and we're gearing up for a very busy August," campaign spokesman Patrick J. Curry said Saturday.

Part of that busy schedule involves filming a series of 30-second television ads that Curry expects will begin airing next month. The move is considered significant, because even though Brown far outpaces Schroeder in fundraising, the comptroller is demonstrating that he is letting loose a professional campaign complete with TV ads.

Mayoral candidate and city Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder. (John Hickey/Buffalo News)

While Brown last week submitted campaign finance reports indicating about $519,000 on hand, Schroeder reported about $118,000 and Grant about $7,200. Brown's total dwarfs Schroeder's, but observers think the challenger has raised enough to get him started and remain competitive — including a successful event at DiTondo's Tavern on June 22 that raised $30,000.

Now Curry says Schroeder will begin expounding on his "Compass Plan" that provides an outline for his approach to various problems and issues that he believes will confront the city in the years ahead. This week, he said, the candidate will provide details on his plan for City Hall to consolidate water inspection services in a more efficient manner.

Schroeder has also used the bully pulpit of the comptroller's office with audits critical of some city services, and Curry expects the candidate will continue that approach.

Schroeder audit raps city for 24-hour shifts for fire dispatchers

Grant

Currently an Erie County legislator, Grant is struggling to keep up with her better known and better financed rivals. Brown's campaign treasury, for example, is 70 times richer than hers.

But Grant is also concentrating on the retail side of politics, appearing at Saturday's Grease Pole Festival on Swan Street and with a Sunday appearance at the Masten Jazz Festival in Martin Luther King Jr. Park on her schedule.

Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant is running for Buffalo mayor. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

On Monday she plans to participate in a mayoral forum sponsored by the Western New York Peace Center at the Rafi Green Center on Fillmore Avenue that will concentrate on police-community relations. She said the mayor has yet to attend any similar events.

"He's been a no-show," she said.

Grant said she will devote much of her energy this week to her various appearances to highlight what she called the city's failure to adequately address winter pothole damage to East Side streets. Only now, she said, is the city beginning to fill the holes.

"It's part of the inattention and lack of resources designated for the east side of Main Street," she said.

Brown

The mayor enters the last week of July with all the advantages of front-runner status as well as City Hall incumbency, which means he will be at the Panasonic hiring fair at the Buffalo Employment & Training Center on Wednesday. He also will make a couple of government-related announcements, including revamping the board of the troubled Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority.

Mayor Byron W. Brown. (Buffalo News file photo)

On the campaign side, he will speak at a young professionals event this week, though spokesmen did not provide any other details. He also has a couple of private events planned for this week, according to the campaign.

As the incumbent and favorite, Brown has established a commanding lead in fundraising. His more than half-million-dollar total will allow significant advertising and field organization, while his incumbency means he will almost certainly preside over dozens of additional public events in the coming weeks — many with significant press coverage.

Brown's newest campaign finance report indicates support from a gamut of political, legal and business interests, and underscores his strength attracting crucial campaign dollars – with more expected throughout the campaign.

Mayor Brown raising $4 for every $1 Schroeder gets

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