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Add it all up, and Brown spent $75 per vote in successful mayoral primary

Votes don't come cheap.

After some 26,000 people voted in the Buffalo primary Sept. 12, it turns out Mayor Byron W. Brown's winning campaign spent about $75 for each vote cast for him in the three-way race.

Mark J.F. Schroeder's campaign spent about $47 per vote.

And Betty Jean Grant, who was a distant third in the race, spent about $7 for each vote she got.

That's according to the final financial reports filed  reported to the New York State Board of Election over the past few days.

The three candidates spent a total of $1.4 million for a race that pretty much mirrored the results pollsters and pundits predicted before the three candidates took their different messages to voters.

Brown - who won with 13,346 votes- was the biggest spender. His campaign spent just over $1 million.

Schroeder's campaign spent about $440,000. He came in second with 9,219 votes.

And Grant, who struggled to raise money throughout the race, spent about $22,000 on a race that got her 3,267.

Buffalo mayoral campaign becoming $1 million primary battle

All totaled, spending for the race was in line with the 2013 primary that Brown ran against Bernie Tolbert, who is currently running for Erie County Sheriff.

One difference, though, is 950 fewer people voted in that election. So while the average cost of all votes in the 2017 primary was $56 per vote, the average in the 2013 race was $63 per vote.

Also, Brown spent about $200,000 more during the 2013 primary and got about 2,000 more votes than he did in the 2017 primary;  and Tolbert spent about $200,000 less than Schroeder, and got about 2,000 fewer  votes than Schroeder, according to Erie County Board of Elections records. There was no third candidate in the 2013 mayoral primary. So the 2013 per vote costs were $79 for Brown and $32 for Tolbert.

Much of the 2017 spending by the candidates occurred in the final leg of the campaign, when Brown and Schroeder television ads hit the airwaves.

Brown spent $366,370 - more than a third of his total spending - between Aug. 29 and Sept. 18, with most of that spending on or before primary election day, Sept. 12, according to the campaign reports.
The biggest expense was a total of $292,590 to Joe Slade White & Co., a local political consultant who handled the Brown campaign's television commercials and related media production.
The Brown campaign spent another $3,600 in radio ads in the final weeks leading up to the election as well as almost $1,500 in Facebook advertising, campaign spending reports show.

Schroeder's campaign reported spending $107,930 - about a quarter of his total spending - between Aug. 29 and Sept. 18, also with most of that on or before primary day.

Schroeder spent $52,500 in television ads in those final days, in addition to $100,000 on he spent for television commercials just a couple weeks earlier.
Schroeder also spent almost $5,000 in radio advertising in those final weeks of the campaign as well as almost $4,000 in Facebook advertising.

Grant's campaign reported spending about $11,000 in the final two weeks leading up to the election. Grant didn't have money for television, but her campaign spent $2,715 on radio advertising  as well as about $7,000 in campaign literature, campaign reports show.

Who paid for it all?

Brown's biggest contributors over the campaign season included the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the 43x79 Buffalo business group, each of which gave his campaign $12,500. The United Healthcare Workers political action committee also contributed $12,500.

Norstar, a national development firm working in Buffalo, contributed $13,300 through several of its corporations.

Other top contributors included  Dr. Daniel Alexander, a former Buffalo firefighter now working as a surgeon in the Finger Lakes, who contributed $9,500; and Dr. Cameron Huckell, a physician at Pinnacle Orthopedics on Michigan Avenue. Huckell contributed $7,500 while Pinnacle contributed $2,500.

Schroeder's biggest financial supporters included the Buffalo law firm of Maxwell Murphy and its partners, John F. Maxwell and William D. Murphy, both long-time friends of Schroeder. The lawyers and their firm combined contributed $30,000 to Schroeder's campaign, in addition to $3,184 in in-kind services.

Other top Schroeder contributors included SECM Holdings, which is affiliated with the Buffalo law firm of Cannon, Heyman and Weiss, according New York Dept. of State corporation records. SECM contributed $6,500 to Schroeder while the Cannon, Heyman and Weiss law firm contributed $500 and donated another $143 as in-kind contributions. Also, one of the law firm's partners, Steven Weiss, contributed $2,500. Weiss's family foundation contributed another $3,500.

Grant's biggest contributor was businessman Hormoz Mansouri of Amherst, who gave her $7,000 through three different companies - HLM Holding, NPTS, Inc., and EI Teams Inc.  Grant received one other contribution over $250 - a $1,000 donation from American Rated Cable Communications, which owns the Delavan Avenue building where Grant, an Erie County legislator, rents  legislative office space.

Although losing the Democratic primary, Schroeder, the city comptroller, still has a minor party line in the November general election. He's the Reform Party candidate.
Brown also faces a minor party challenge from Terrence Robinson, a community activist and preservationist running on the Green Party line.
Robinson has not filed a campaign finance report since mid-January, when he reported he had not raised or spent any campaign funds.
Brown's campaign, meanwhile, while scaled back, remains active as it works to get Brown elected to a fourth four-year term.

Four years ago, when Brown faced a Republican Party candidate, Sergio Rodriguez, the Brown campaign spent an additional $285,481 through the general election, bringing the mayor's total 2013 campaign spending to $1.5 million.
Rodriguez spent a total of $29,227 throughout that campaign season.
Brown won the 2013 general election with 70 percent of the vote.






















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