Release Date: October 27, 2021
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Early voting has begun to determine who will be Buffalo’s next mayor, a race that political experts say has national implications for the Democratic Party as it swings between progressive and centrist ideologies.
India Walton is a democratic socialist who surprised party leaders by defeating longtime incumbent Mayor Byron Brown in the party’s June primary. In the months since, Brown has launched a write-in campaign.
The following University at Buffalo experts are available to discuss the race, as well as issues central to the race:
Shawn Donahue, PhD, JD, assistant professor of political science
Donahue is an expert in law and political science.
He can speak to the media about the two candidates’ electoral strategies, as well as politics in Buffalo and New York State. He also can address issues of campaign finance, public opinion, voter turnout and ballot design, including the write-in portion of that Brown is relying upon.
Henry-Louis Taylor, Jr., PhD, professor of urban and regional planning, and director of the UB Center for Urban Studies
Taylor is an expert on urban development and social, economic and racial justice.
Among other topics, he can address Buffalo’s uneven comeback from industrial decline and how the city’s revitalization has left out portions of neighborhoods and people in Buffalo. He is the lead author of a new report on the state of Buffalo’s Black community.
Jacob Neiheisel, PhD, associate professor of political science
Neiheisel is an expert on political communication and campaigns.
He can comment on how the race mirrors a schism in the Democratic Party, with Walton embracing ideas favored by national figures such as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Brown charting a more traditional path to appeal to the party’s centrist members. Neiheisel can also address topics that range from campaign ads to voter turnout and voter sentiment.
Kelly Patterson, PhD, associate professor of social work
Patterson is an expert on housing policy, residential segregation and other issues in urban development.
She can address how neighborhood outcomes affect quality of life, and how residential segregation relegates the poor and minority communities to disadvantaged neighborhoods with lower quality schools, services and food, and higher exposure to crime.
Carrie Tirado Bramen, PhD, professor of English, and director of the UB Gender Institute
Bramen is an expert on cultural history, feminist and gender studies, among other topics.
She can discuss how Walton, if elected, would become the city’s first female mayor, and what that means to the city, region and state (Gov. Kathy Hochul is the state’s first woman to hold the position). She can also discuss how the path of Walton (and women in general) in the political arena differs from male counterparts.
Wooksoo Kim, PhD, associate professor of social work and director of the Immigrant and Refugee Research Institute at UB
Kim is an expert on immigrants and refugees, and the issues these groups face as they resettle in the U.S.
Specifically, she can discuss how immigrants and refugees are revitalizing neighborhoods in Buffalo, where the population is growing for the first time in 70 years, and what role these groups play in the city’s evolving political landscape.
Robert Silverman, PhD, professor of urban and regional planning
Silverman is an expert on community development and inequity in urban communities.
Silverman can discuss issues related to affordable housing, aging housing (Buffalo’s housing stock is among the oldest in the nation) and transit-accessible neighborhoods, among other topics.