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Helfer Critical of Gaughan Endorsement of Brown

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – The political sparring continues in the race for Buffalo mayor. On Friday, both major party candidates received some surprising endorsements. Former mayoral candidate Kevin Gaughan is now supporting State Senator Byron Brown. But while Brown gained Gaughan's backing, he has lost some African-American and Democratic support. Don Allen, who serves as the city zone chairman of the Erie County Democratic Party, is endorsing Republican mayoral candidate Kevin Helfer.

Byron Brown said he had no comment on Allen's endorsement for Helfer. Allen is community services commissioner for the city of Buffalo. But Brown didn't want to focus on loosing Allen's Democratic and African-American support.

"I am very pleased with the level of support that we're receiving in every section of this community," Brown said. "The support is overwhelming. And I think that overwhelming support will show itself on November 8th."

But his Republican opponent, Kevin Helfer, had plenty to say about Kevin Gaughan's endorsement for Brown. Helfer said he thought it was a bit hypocritical. He says it was Gaughan who campaigned in the primary as a candidate who wanted to reform government and did not want to settle for the status quo, even issuing some harsh remarks against Brown.

"(Gaughan) said he (Brown) represented the status quo," Helfer said. "If you look at the quotes of Kevin Gaughan, he said he was running because Brown's community is 'like Beirut.'"

WBFO News asked Kevin Gaughan if he needed to retract that statement in order for his former supporters to vote for Brown.

"I don't think I have to retract any statement," Gaughan said. "I will say that I don't think there's any relationship on Earth -- good friends, husbands and wives -- that doesn't have disagreements. I have some disagreements with Senator Brown. But I think focusing on those disagreements is part of what has held us back."

Gaughan says this is the first time he has endorsed a political candidate for office, but was comfortable and proud of his decision.