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Editorial: Election Day, Buffalo style

It’s Election Day. Really. If you’re a Democrat in the City of Buffalo, this is the day you determine who will be mayor for the next four years and which of four candidates will be elected to a city seat on the Erie County Legislature.

If you’re a Republican, forget about it. You have no voice in selecting the mayor. That’s how your party wants it.

Today is actually the New York State primary election. Because Buffalo is overwhelmingly Democratic, Republicans have once again chosen not to field any candidate for any office.

Some of that may be due to the unlikelihood of winning, but it’s also because if no Republican is on November’s ballot, the city’s Democratic voter turnout may be diminished, giving other Republicans an easier time in the general election.

But winning is not impossible, as former City Comptroller Andrew SanFilippo demonstrated in 2003, when he ran as a Republican after losing in the Democratic primary. If Republicans want to have influence in Buffalo, they need to start making the case, and there is surely one to be made.

Be that as it may, today’s voting by Buffalo Democrats is tantamount to election, since no major party opponent will appear on the November ballot. It is important that Democrats make the effort to vote. Tonight’s winner will have a greater mandate to govern while the losers will know that the decision wasn’t reached because of voter apathy.

In the race for mayor, incumbent Byron Brown has two rivals, City Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder and Erie County District 2 Legislator Betty Jean Grant. Brown has served three terms and deserves a share of the credit for Buffalo’s ongoing revival. He has led the city adeptly and deserves a fourth term.

In the Erie County Legislature, four candidates are vying to succeed Grant, who is giving up the seat as she runs for mayor. We have endorsed a military veteran, Duncan Kirkwood. He is an able and focused candidate with a breadth of experience.

His opponents include the Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate, April Baskin; former Buffalo Common Council Member Charley Fisher and a local lawyer, David Martinez. While Martinez needs more seasoning before serving in public office, either Baskin or Fisher would also make a credible legislator.

These endorsements are intended to aid voters in their evaluation of those seeking office. Whether you agree or disagree with our recommendations, we urge you to vote and take part in our electoral process.

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