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Byron Brown's Political Career in Neutral | Commentary

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Byron Brown's Political Career in Neutral
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Not so long ago Byron Brown looked like a man on the rise in New York state politics. Brown was an easy winner in his re-election bid for Mayor of Buffalo and there was talk of being a serious candidate for Lieutenant Governor. The old downstate, upstate ticket and it didn't hurt that Brown was a young, well spoken minority to boot.

Then there was the scenario where Byron runs for Congresswoman Louise Slaughter's seat once she retires. That's still a possibility, but Brown's second term as Mayor has been a rocky road and the Karla Thomas episode isn't helping.

There was even a whole succession plan if Byron won a higher office.Senator Antoine Thompson would run for Brown's spot as Mayor, taking the same path from the State Senate used by Byron. That is no longer an option now that Antoine has become the poster child for Albany abuse and is about to lose his own seat to Grisanti.

Yes, Byron Brown has seen his political word change over the past two years and his feud with Democratic Chairman Len Lenihan has not helped the situation. Lenihan crossed swords with Brown over Sam Hoyt's Assembly seat and Lenny again prevailed. Brown also sided with Brian Higgins in running Tim Kennedy against Bill Stachowski in a the primary for the 58th Senate seat, again opposite of Lenihan, a Stach supporter. Kennedy easily defeated Stachowski in the primary and even prevailed against early favorite Jack Quinn, but forcing the 30 year seniority laden Stachowski out did not sit well with some party leaders in Albany.

Byron also is an ally of Republican County Executive Chris Collins despite his cuts to social service agencies which hurt the inner City. It seems Byron can be whatever he needs to be if the politics dictate it.

The man who helps Brown navigate the tricky political waters is of course Deputy Mayor Steve Casey. Casey worked with former Democratic Chairman Steve Pigeon to get Brown elected first time around. They then tossed Pigeon aside once Byron took office which caused a heated feud. Yet they somehow mended fences with Pigeon two years later and now use the Golisano confidant to play hardball with enemies when needed.

Right now it appears Byron Brown's career may peak no higher than Buffalo City Hall. The roadblocks to a State or Federal elected office have grown. It is possible that Andrew Cuomo could offer the Buffalo Mayor a position in his administration, but doubtful Brown would give up the more prestigious local office.

Byron Brown should buy new drapes and carpets for his City Hall office because it looks like he will be there for a long time, whether he wants to or not.

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