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Democrat Byron W. Brown has again snared the Independence Party line in his re-election bid for mayor, creating a formidable ballot presence for the November general election.

New York Independence Chairman Frank S. MacKay announced the move Tuesday as the party lined up behind Brown, as it did in 2005 and 2009.

“Under Mayor Brown, the City of Buffalo has made great progress,” MacKay said. “Buffalo’s residents have reaped the benefits of lower taxes, no more hard control board, the highest bond rating in its history, safer streets, and the largest economic development growth in decades.”

While the Independence Party has lost some clout in recent years and has slipped to the fifth line on the ballot, it is still highly sought after by many elected officials – including Brown. His latest backing by Independence further solidifies his position in the general election, because he is expected to again gain Conservative Party backing later this month.

Brown has strong ties to the Conservatives – the third party listed on the ballot – since his days as an aide to former County Executive Dennis T. Gorski, who always ran with the party’s backing.

Bernard Tolbert, the former head of the Buffalo FBI, announced his plans on Saturday to challenge Brown for the Democratic nomination. He said Tuesday he is also pursuing support from other minor parties.

“I’m in this for the long haul,” he said.

Still, the Independence move and the extra line it supplies Brown in November only re-emphasizes the importance of the September Democratic primary, which is expected to prove decisive in overwhelmingly Democratic Buffalo.

Sergio R. Rodriguez has announced his plans to seek the Republican nomination, and so far has no other party line. He said Tuesday, however, he will mount a write-in campaign to secure the Independence line.

“Over the past few months my campaign has made numerous attempts to reach out to the out-of-town Independence Party chairman to no avail,” Rodriguez said. “Back room political deals like this are why people have lost faith in the political system.”

email: rmccarthy@buffnews.com