City Comptroller Mark Schroeder is among the Erie County Conservative Party’s most loyal patrons. Local Democrats want to know why.
In 2008, Schroeder was running for Assembly and even wrote the Conservative Party a check for $1,500 — and did so directly from his campaign account. That Schroeder would use Democrat donations to his campaign to funnel money to the Conservatives has infuriated liberal activists.
For years, Schroeder has made smaller donations to a political action committee named “Real Conservatives PAC,” ostensibly controlled by Erie County Conservative Party Chairman Joe Loriego — a mainstay in South Buffalo politics.
That political action committee has been active in swinging local State Senate contests to that chamber’s Republican caucus. Local operatives say that Schroeder’s support of “Real Conservatives PAC” makes sense, pointing to Schroeder’s time in the State Assembly, where he became famous for refusing to caucus with the Democrats.
“When are you going to apologize for cow towing to the local Conservative Party? They are the most transactional political entity in town and have squandered so much of this community for their expensive and unrelenting lust for patronage,” a Buffalo Democrat asked Schroeder on Facebook last month.
The Erie County Conservative Party is synonymous with South Buffalo, where the party headquarters had long been based and where the Party has traditionally performed well.
There is much resentment of the Conservative Party among Buffalonian progressives, who have long been thwarted by the Conservative Party’s ability to inflame racial sentiments and toil in ethnic politics.
In 1977 Jimmy Griffin lost the Democratic Party primary to Assemblyman Arthur O. Eve, a pioneering champion of the Black community who was on the brink of being elected the city’s first African American mayor.
The African American community never fully recovered from that moment of political marginalization — a moment when Blacks and progressives realized that their fellow Democrats would wholly abandon them in the general election, rejecting the prospect of empowering the East Side.
That they instead elected a hard charging, racially insensitive aggressor from South Buffalo — who would be reelected for four terms — and systematically divest the East Side of public resources and investment, while diverting those public monies to South Buffalo, greatly inflamed the situation.
The Conservative Party would go on to back every Mayor since Griffin.
“Jimmy Griffin. Anthony Masiello. Byron Brown. Take a look at what’s happened to the East Side because of these horrible, calculating, crooked, callous people who put those political machines in office and kept them there,” explains a member of the Buffalo chapter of Black Lives Matter. “The blood is on the Conservative Party’s hands.”
“Voters get to decide what they care about and too many communities have been left brutally marginalized by the racialized dogmas architected, projected, and gamed by the local Conservative Party,” the voter argues. “Schroeder has a lot of apologizing to do if he wants to be taken seriously as alternative direction to the Brown administration.”