2024 – the year of the stealth primaries in Erie County; an update on the City of Buffalo’s budget woes; the next mayor

Primary election day in New York State is June 25th.  You can be forgiven for not knowing what’s happening that day.

Earlier this year it looked like there could be both Democratic and Republican primaries for the seat in the United States Senate held by Kirsten Gillibrand.  The threat of primaries went away.  Gillibrand will face Republican Mike Sapraicone in November.

In Erie County this year things are relatively quiet.  Here is a breakdown of primaries for three parties; none for the Working Families Party:

Democratic – 9 races for County Committee in Buffalo plus one in Brant


Primary for Assembly in the 147th District

Primaries for Town Justice positions in Collins and  North Collins

10 races for County Committee in Buffalo

1 race for Committee in Amherst

3 races for Committee in Elma

9 races for Committee in Grand Island


Primary for Town Justice position in Collins

13 races for County Committee in Evans

Except for the Assembly primary most of these campaigns are low-visibility inside-baseball types of contests, none of which rise to major eruptions in the parties.  The campaign in the 147th District is different.

Incumbent David DiPietro has been in office since 2013.  He has not been associated with any major legislative initiatives, having concentrated mainly on his association with Donald J. Trump and Trump loyalists.  Challenging DiPietro is Mitch Martin who has been involved in Republican politics for several years.  He is currently on the staff of Sheriff John Garcia, who is supporting his Assembly campaign. 

This primary continues to stir unease in the County Republican Committee.  The Committee has not made an endorsement in the 147th District.  The Party’s endorsed candidates lost primaries for Sheriff in 2021 and the 10th District of the County Legislature in 2022.  The 2022 party candidate for Congress in the 23rd Congressional District, Nick Langworthy, won a narrow primary victory even while losing to challenger Carl Paladino in the Erie County portion of the District.

Both DiPietro and Martin have been ramping up their activities with mailers and radio ads.  Campaign financial reports as of May 24th show:

DiPietro had $136,782 in the bank as of mid-January.  He has outstanding loans to his campaign from himself of $62,825. DiPietro only raised $9,189 from then through May 24, more than half of it coming from Paladino-related businesses.  He spent $28,819 and reported a balance of $117,153.  Major expenditures included Gallagher Printing work totaling $14,192; $1,000 each to the Orchard Park Republican Committee and the New York State Conservative Party; $615 to Colvin Cleaners; and $500 each to the Erie County Republican Committee and Garcia for Sheriff.

Martin’s January financial report, which has been amended through April 24th, showed contributions of $18,178; expenses of $4,053; and a balance of $14,126.  He received $3,043 in additional contributions plus a payment of $75,420 from the state’s new Public Campaign Financing Program and may be eligible for additional payments.  His expenses included $2,000 to Christian Chase and $746 to KJW Advertising.  His reported balance as of May 24th was $86,340.

Early voting will be conducted in Erie County for the primary elections, although on a more limited scale than in previous elections given the small number of contests and the nature of the campaigns, which except for the 147th Assembly District, are mostly for seats on party committees.  The only early voting site in Buffalo, where there are just ten Republican committee contests and nine for the Democratic County Committee, is the Board of Elections location in Buffalo.  Early voting in Amherst will be conducted even though there is just one primary for two County Committee seats in the 30th election district; there are 494 registered Republicans in the district.  You can find all the details about early voting in Erie County here: (

Part of Niagara County is included in the 24th Congressional District, currently represented by Claudia Tenney.  Tenney is being challenged in the Republican primary by Mario Fratto.  Besides that there is a Republican primary for Clerk/Tax Collector in Hartland and eight races for the Republican Committee.  Here is the early voting information in Niagara County:   Early-Voting-PE24-Schedule.pdf (

Wyoming County is included in the 147th Assembly District.  Here is the early voting information there:  Early-Voting-Schedule-for-2024-June-Primary (

The Buffalo budget has a hole in it already

The City of Buffalo’s 2024-2025 fiscal year does not begin until July 1 but its newly adopted budget already has sprung a $4.2 million hole in it.

The budget includes that amount from revenues derived from a proposed new hotel occupancy tax.  Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes introduced authorizing legislation at the end of the legislative session but no action was taken.  There was opposition from business interests; there is no specific indication of what the money would be used for, although the assumption is that it would just be for general expenses of the city; and the proposed legislation would expire on December 31, 2027, meaning that revenue projections for the fourth year of the city’s four-year financial plan would be shortened.

The Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority is scheduled to meet on June 17th to review any changes the city administration may be proposing to provide more realistic revenue and expenditure estimates over the next four years.  Ultimately action to deal with the city impending financial crisis will depend on the Authority reverting to a hard control board status.  That will take some encouragement from the state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and action by the Governor Kathy Hochul to fill the four vacancies on the Authority’s Board.

A mayoral footnote

I have stayed away from most of the frequent heard-on-the-streets stuff involving Mayor Byron Brown’s possible departure from the office and what happens next.  Accuracy is still unknown but the latest version of what might happen is intriguing:  before August 5 Brown resigns to take a position with the State University of New York; Council President Chris Scanlon becomes Mayor; according to the state Election Law “a vacancy occurring three months before a General Election in any year in any office authorized to be filled at a general election… shall be filled at a general election held next thereafter;” the Democratic Party nominates State Senator Sean Ryan for Mayor.

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The post 2024 – the year of the stealth primaries in Erie County; an update on the City of Buffalo’s budget woes; the next mayor appeared first on Buffalo Rising.

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