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Carlisle joins race for Buffalo mayor as write-in candidate

Buffalo resident Benjamin Carlisle announced his write-in candidacy for mayor Friday, August 20
Buffalo resident Benjamin Carlisle announced his write-in candidacy for mayor Friday, August 20

Another candidate is throwing his hat into the ring in the race for Buffalo Mayor. Benjamin Carlisle announced his candidacy late Friday afternoon.

He admits that as a write-in candidate entering the race in late summer, he has a substantially uphill climb. But Carlisle says he's entering the race because he's most dissatisfied with candidates in the race.

"Generally, we get our pick between one generic Republican candidate and one generic Democrat candidate. And this year, we don't even have that," Carlisle said. "This year, the only person on the ballot is going to be a self-avowed socialist. And the only other alternative, at least the one that the mainstream media tells us about, is to write in the same person who's already been there for 16 years. I feel like the people in Buffalo need some choice other than what, I like to say, is the status quo or socialism."

India Walton won the Democratic primary in June, upsetting four-term incumbent Byron Brown. The current mayor is staying in the race as a write-in candidate. Also running as a write-in is Jaz Miles, who ran unsuccessfully last year as a Republican in the 141st New York State Assembly District against Crystal Peoples-Stokes.

Carlisle says he is running neither as a Democrat, nor as a Republican. The main plank in his platform, in his words, is rooting out City Hall corruption. A University at Buffalo law graduate, he states a special interest in affordable housing and community development. He believes he would set a more level playing field.

"Everyone knows what it takes to get either a project developed or construction bid accepted under Byron Brown. But frankly, what India Walton is proposing is very scary, and it almost makes Byron Brown’s cronyism seem appealing. What I'm offering is transparency. India Walton has basically declared war on development in the City of Buffalo. She's accused anyone who wants to fix up their house of being a gentrifier," he said.

By joining the race at this stage, Carlisle admits he's also well behind in campaign fundraising. He tells WBFO the required paperwork was filed with New York State last week, and he has opened a campaign bank account. He also received his first campaign donation earlier this week, $500 from an unidentified local small business owner.

"It's a grassroots campaign. It's going to be mostly just a social media blitz until we can collect more funds, and we can start doing paid advertising, and we can start getting more signs and stuff like that," he said. "Right now, we've got an extremely meager budget but we're hoping that once the campaign catches fire, that will change."

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.