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Analysis: Could Tim Kennedy be the one to succeed Byron Brown as Buffalo's mayor?

Tim Kennedy
Tom Dinki
State Sen. Tim Kennedy addresses reporters at a press conference Aug. 11, 2021. One political pundit believes Kennedy is the favorite to succeed Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown following Brown's likely election victory Tuesday.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown appears headed to an unprecedented fifth term after there were more write-in ballots than votes cast for Democratic nominee India Walton. But who might be Buffalo’s next mayor following the 2025 election?

One political pundit believes local Democrats have already chosen Brown’s eventual successor, and that it’s New York State Sen. Tim Kennedy.

During WBFO’s live election coverage Tuesday night, Warren Galloway, a Republican and former Erie County official, said he doesn’t expect Brown to run again. Brown lost the Democratic Primary to Waltion in June and needed a near unprecedented write-in campaign to stay in office.

Galloway said he thinks the Erie County Democratic Committee is targeting Kennedy, a South Buffalo Democrat, as their nominee for 2025.

“Byron spent a lot of time in South Buffalo. I think the deals have already been cut,” Galloway said, “and Tim has spent a lot of time in the Black community, meeting Black friends.”

Plus, the last three Buffalo mayors — James Griffin, Anthony Masiello and Brown — were all previously state senators.

“Now it makes sense for Senator Kennedy,” Galloway said.

Kennedy, 45, has served in the New York State Senate since 2011, after previously serving in the Erie County Legislature. WGRZ reports he raised over $600,000 in the first six months of 2021 and has a campaign war chest of $1.5 million. Kennedy told the station he’s focused on the state Senate but he’ll “be ready when the time comes for whatever may lie ahead.”

Walton, who earned an endorsement from the Erie County Democratic Committee after upsetting Brown in the primary, figures to be another early favorite for the 2025 Democratic nominee.

However, Democratic Chair Jeremy Zellner said Tuesday the party was content with whether Walton or Brown won, since they’re both Democrats. Political pundits expect Walton to remain involved in local politics.

Tom Dinki joined WBFO in August 2019 to cover issues affecting older adults.
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