Byron Brown may run for Comptroller, if Stringer enters primary against DiNapoli

Fresh off an unprecedented write-in election victory, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown is considering a run for State Comptroller against Long Island incumbent Tom DiNapoli and is likely to announce his candidacy if former New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer decides to enter the race. Brown, a conservative Democrat who defeated socialist India Walton with the backing of the Republican Party and its Chairman Nick Langworthy along with the robust fundraising efforts of Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino, is looking for higher office.

The Comptroller is the sole trustee of the State’s $207 billion pension fund and the government’s chief fiscal watchdog.  DiNapoli has served in the office since 2007, when he was elected by his colleagues in the Senate to fill the vacancy that year.  He has since been re-elected three times statewide by impressive margins — and with very strong support from the State’s influential organized labor movement.

Stringer, who once represented the far left-leaning Upper West Side of Manhattan on the New York City Council, has been circulating rumors in recent days that he is planning to form an exploratory committee. 
Privately, Langworthy has been encouraging Brown to run against United States Senator Chuck Schumer as the Republican nominee in the general election.  Langworthy expects that Schumer will be defeated in the Democratic Party primary by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and wants a competitive candidate on the Republican ballot line when it happens.  A conservative Black mayor — elected five times in a Rust Belt city — could wage a compelling narrative against Ocasio-Cortez.

Although becoming a Republican would quickly open up a number of paths for higher office, Brown is reluctant to leave the Democratic Party, even though there is an effort underway to have him removed from his position with the Democratic National Committee for refusing the endorse the party nominee following his primary defeat.

Brown acknowledges that his fifth term as Mayor of Buffalo, but aspires for higher office.

“If India Walton could defeat him soundly in a Democratic Primary, imagine what a stronger candidate could do,” one Brown supporter explains.  “He knows he is weak and if he didn’t have the statewide Republican Party pulling out all the stops, he wouldn’t have been reelected.  He needs to use one of the next four election cycles to get to higher office, this is clearly the year when everything will be up for grabs.”

Others rumored to be considering the race include former Governors Andrew Cuomo and Elliott Spitzer, along with former State Senator Mark Grisanti.

Two once-popular Governors are each looking to orchestrate unlikely political comebacks.  Spitzer plans to run against Cuomo for whichever office that Cuomo chooses to seek — he is currently considering both the Comptroller’s office and the Attorney General’s office.  Spitzer believes that Cuomo is defeat-able in a head-to-head match-up that would be expected to attract national media attention.  For his part, Cuomo believes he could have worse opponents and has been privately encouraging Spitzer to run against him.  Because both men have personal baggage and character flaws, it’s thought that — by running against each other — they would be able to focus on policy issues. 

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