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A former candidate for Buffalo City Council, Rodriguez is Medaille College's Coordinator of the Office of Veterans and Military Affairs, and president of the Los Tainos Senior Center on Buffalo's West Side. A native of the Dominican Republic, he served as a Marine and is the founder of GI Bill Magazine, a web publication covering veterans and related education news.
His candidacy is not traditional. There are approx. 120,000 Democrats in the city compared to approx. 16,000 Republicans.
The last time a Republican ran for Mayor in the city was when Kevin Helfer tried in 2005 and took approx. 27 per cent of the vote. Richard Grimm's campaign against Mayor Anthony Masiello and Councilman Eugene Fahey in 1992 did even worse, taking only 17 percent.
The city hasn't had a Republican mayor since Chester Kowal in 1965, and has only had 11 Republicans hold the office out of the 62 Mayors since Buffalo's first in 1833.
While Republican party officials have never adopted an official policy against running Republicans in the city, as a practical matter, the lack of any candidates there is seen as a way to help countywide Republican candidates by not giving city Democrats a reason to turn out. The issue could be a factor this year, with Republican incumbents in the County Sheriff and Comptroller's offices expected to run for re-election. .
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" Those are the things that drive me. I'm not in this thing where I want to run to change the party or anything like that. What motivates me is ..really the issue that really motivates anyone out there, in terms of moving into the city, or leaving the city, or staying in the city. "