BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Democratic analyst Jack O'Donnell believes incumbent Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and unofficial Democratic primary winner India Walton together could spend more than $2 million over the next five months campaigning for the November general election.
"Buffalo is really going to become ground zero for this idealogical battle for the soul of the Democratic Party," O'Donnell said.
Brown is likely beginning with a head start, reporting a more than $300,000-balance 11-days before the primary to Walton's $27,500.
"Byron Brown in his career in government has proven to be a formidable fundraiser. He may not have turned that up over the last couple of years between COVID and everything else, but I have every expectation that if he starts working the phones and meeting with folks that he can raise a lot of money," O'Donnell said.
We don't know yet how much money the candidates spent in the days leading up to primary, but since, Walton has already demonstrated the ability to close ground quickly. The campaign said it raised $40,000 from 600 individual donors just Monday, the same day Brown announced he planned to move forward with a write-in campaign.
"I don't think we've ever seen that kind of one-day e-haul in Buffalo before," O'Donnell said.
Walton is utilizing ActBlue, an online platform to raise small-dollar donations from individuals. She said she's receiving contributions not just from people in the city and the surrounding suburbs, but around the country.
"She's got a national following that she can raise from and that's only going to grow and we've seen in Democratic politics that people who are willing to send $5, $15 once are often really willing to do that again and it's a source for an awful lot of fundraising," O'Donnell said.
He said Brown also has a deep well of connections to draw money from due to his 16 years as mayor, time in the state Senate and as the former chair of the state Democratic Party. The analyst said Brown may see some unions get behind him, as well as local developers who have worked with him and contributed to his campaigns in the past.
"They have a known quantity," O'Donnell said. "They know how to work with the mayor. They know how the city works under him and they want to keep that going."
He said he expects this to be a stay-away election for most New York politicians who may otherwise support Brown because Walton is the Democratic nominee.