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Buffalo Mayoral Race Heats Up

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – The race for Buffalo Mayor is heating up just one day after the Primary. Already the candidates are pointing fingers at one another.

We could be in for an interesting round of jabs as the two major party candidates vying to become Buffalo's next Mayor battle it out for the November election.

Both Byron Brown and Kevin Helfer are accusing one another of ties to Republican County Executive Joel Giambra.

Brown points to Helfer's past job under the Giambra Administration as former Social Services Commissioner.

"Lying about my record, which is absolutely laughable since Kevin Helfer spent five years on Joel Giambra's friends and family plan, taking over $400,000 of taxpayers money and putting it in his pocket," said Brown.

"So, if Byron says were lying, please come and tell me specifically where we are lying," said Helfer.

But Helfer said he stepped away from his County job and the Administration after raising spending concerns to Giambra.

"A year and a half ago, myself and a couple of others went to Joel and said, look you have a huge deficit, here are ways you can close it," said Helfer. "He didn't want to listen and that's fine, he's the boos and I respect that. But I didn't like the direction the County was going in, so I stepped away. Not too many people step away from a $120,000 a year job. I did because it was the right thing to do."

Helfer also fires back that Brown has received $3,300 in campaign contributions from Joel Giambra.

"The man has taken money from everywhere. It is right in his campaign finance disclosure forms. He has it from every special interest he's taken it from all the people who want the status quo to continue," said Helfer. "We are telling the story, we are telling the facts."

"We have a quote from Kevin Helfer saying Joel Giambra is a good man with a good agenda for the community. That is what he said when he left the position of social services," said Brown.

Brown goes as far as placing some of the blame for the County's fiscal crisis on Helfer.

"It is a Giambra-Helfer mess. And Kevin Helfer can't walk away or distance himself form the close role that he played as a top administration official in County government," said Brown.

Brown won the Democratic primary Tuesday, and Helfer is declaring victory as a write-in candidate on the Conservative line. But final tabulations are not complete.