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Buffalo’s Latino mayoral candidate vs. incumbent mayor

WBFO News file photo

Byron Brown rolled over his opponent Bernie Tolbert in last week's Democratic primary race, but the mayor still faces opposition in the November election. 

Republican Sergio Rodriguez continues to put up a solid campaign against the incumbent mayor. But he's not gaining support from one local Hispanic politician.

WBFO News asked Niagara District Common Council member David Rivera if he believes Buffalo is ready for a Hispanic mayor and sees the tide turning on Mayor Brown.

"Not really. Mayor Brown has enjoyed strong support from the Hispanic community, Latino community," said Rivera.

Niagara District Council member David Rivera and Ellicott Council member Curtis Haynes
Credit WBFO News file photo
Niagara District Common Council member David Rivera

Rivera, a democrat, is keeping his support with the party and Mayor Brown. But there was a time when Rivera was not supportive of Brown. 

In 2009, Rivera, a former Buffalo police officer,   pressed for the FBI to investigate allegations that Brown obstructed a police investigation of Leonard Stokes, the former basketball star and former owner of the failed One Sunset restaurant. 

The story involved the mayor allegedly intervening to keep Stokes from being charged for suspicion of using a stolen handicapped parking permit.

But fast forward to 2013 and Rivera is very much in support of Brown.

"Four years ago I didn't support the mayor, but here I am supporting the mayor this time around simply because the city's moving forward and we want to continue to move forward. Sergio is a nice person. As a matter of fact, he was my opponent in 2008," said Rivera. "But at the end of the day, I think people want to continue on the path we are on and I think that's why Mayor Brown won overwhelmingly."

Rodriguez says there has been excitement within the Hispanic community over his candidacy, but he doesn't look at it as key to winning over voters.

"I can see that there is a sense of pride from the community.  There truly, truly excited about this race," said Rodriguez. "It's not just about the Hispanic community. I think when we look at the City of Buffalo as a whole, they have given the current administration eight years to work on the issues that matter most to them."

Councilmember Rivera noted that they want members of the Hispanic community to be involved in the political process and get out and vote. Rivera said in spite of feeling "oversensitive to having a Latino" candidate, the election about choosing the best candidate.