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Emin “Eddie” Egriu, who calls himself a “liberal anti-war populist,” announced Monday that he will challenge Rep. Brian Higgins, a five-term incumbent, in the Democratic primary.

Egriu, 52, announced his candidacy on the East Side near the Broadway and Bailey Avenue intersection, where he called attention to nearby vacant lots and challenged the notion of an improving Buffalo economy.

“While our politicians and their contributors continue to feed at the public trough – one taxpayer-funded development project after the next, legalized corruption amok – our neighborhoods continue to lie in ruin,” Egriu said, according to prepared remarks distributed to reporters.

“I am here to tell you the truth: Our 53-year decline continues. Average people are struggling to survive. And the grueling torment of intergenerational poverty persists.”

“Don’t believe me? Just open your eyes. On just this block, there are seven empty lots, and there are seven vacant homes. There are hundreds of blocks just like it,” he said.

Egriu, a Democrat, said he supports the legalization of marijuana for use by adults, single-payer health care and plans to “heavily tax” banks and energy companies.

Egriu, a contractor, was knocked off the ballot in 2010 after attempting to challenge Rep. Louise Slaughter in a Democratic primary.

He has also run for the State Senate.

Egriu is the second candidate to announce a challenge to Higgins.

Republican Kathy Weppner, a former radio talk show host, announced her candidacy in the 26th District last week.

Higgins has cited his advocacy of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, support of Williamsville’s Main Street project and work to develop the waterfronts of both Buffalo and Niagara Falls as part of his record in office.

email: jterreri@buffnews.com