Rumored Mayoral Candidates March in Parade, Talk Politics

7:36 PM, Mar 17, 2013   |    comments
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Buffalo Comptroller Mark Schroeder waives to onlookers during the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Buffalo.

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Buffalo's Saint Patrick's Day is considered the unofficial start of the political season. And this year, many were wondering whether some of the dignitaries who were marching will challenge Mayor Byron Brown for the city's top job.

No one has officially announced they're running, but political movers and shakers are pointing to three people who could jump into a Democratic Primary this year to challenge the mayor. We caught up with two of them marching in the parade.

One of them is State Assemblyman Mickey Kearns, who ran against the Mayor in 2009 and lost.

KEARNS: Although people are calling me as recently as yesterday to consider, I'll probably be staying in the New York State Assembly. 

REPORTER: Probably, but it sounds like that door is open a little?

KEARNS: You know, you never say never. However, I've been very happy working with people, fighting on state issues.

Another potential candidate is City Comptroller Mark Schroeder, who's been in that job about a year. Political columnist Bob McCarthy's Sunday column in the Buffalo News indicated more and more attention is being focused on Schroeder as a candidate.  

We spoke to Schroeder just before he began to march in the parade.

SCHROEDER: And so I'm honored to have this distinction that people are asking me about it, but I'm not thinking about it right now. And I'm concentrating on being the comptroller. I've only been the comptroller for 15 months, and I like it, and I think I'm making a difference, and it suits me, this job as comptroller.

REPORTER: Could that door open a little later? You said "right now."

SCHROEDER: I don't mean to say that. I have no interest in it. And so, I understand though, we're in the month of March and there is a lot of speculation. The major candidates that everybody thinks are the major candidates haven't announced, so there is really not much reason for me to do anything but to say that I'm very interested in being comptroller and running for re-election in 2015.

Some candidates may be waiting to see what another potential candidate, Bernie Tolbert, has planned. Tolbert is the former FBI agent-in-charge in Buffalo. If he runs, others may follow. We couldn't find Tolbert at the parade, but we did ask Mayor Brown about possibly facing a primary.

REPORTER: If you have a primary, are you concerned at all?

MAYOR: You know, my only concern is on doing a great job as mayor, on continuing the progress that we're seeing in the City of Buffalo. And making the people of this great city and region proud.

REPORTER: Some people have mentioned the comptroller, Mark Schroeder, might be running for mayor. Any thoughts on the comptroller running?

MAYOR: My only focus is on continuing the progress in the City of Buffalo. Great things are happening in the city. More than $1.5 billion of development activity last year alone. We're going to keep that progress going and that's what I work for every single day as mayor.

The Democratic primary for Mayor is in September.

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