BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – With Early Voting winding down in a couple days and the Primary Election now just four days away, we’re looking into a key race.
The 26th Congressional District is up for grabs in the Democratic Primary.
The race is between Eddie Egriu, a local businessman and Congressman Brian Higgins, who’s been in Washington for 17 years. Higgins was first elected to Congress in 2004 and has been re-elected ever since. Higgins has not had a challenger in a Democratic Primary until now.
Egriu is putting up a fight.
“Why can I beat him? And how can I beat him? People are finally fed up with the system around here, it’s all about them it’s not about the people,” Egriu said.
Egriu, who says he supports term limits, spent the day talking about improvements he wants to make to water quality locally and held a press conference at Hoyt Lake. Higgins was in Niagara Falls discussing new equipment for police and fire and says local waterways have come a long way.
“The Buffalo River historically was ecologically destroyed, biologically dead, they’re now coming back with recreational boating, all the industry is gone, and those waterways are repairing,” Higgins said.
Egriu has tried to run against Higgins twice in 2020 and 2014 — but hasn’t been able to get on the ballot with enough valid signatures. Higgins has a much bigger war chest with more than $1.2 million on hand, according to federal campaign finance records. Higgins has aired television ads, whereas Egriu has not.
Egriu says he took out a $200,000 home equity loan to run for Congress. Campaign finance records say he’s spent about half of that and has $14,000 on hand. Egriu has a message for voters.
“I want them to know that I’m going to fight about quality of life, I want them to know that I’m going to work on redeveloping these communities that have been forgotten,” Egriu said.
Higgins tells voters to take a look around.
“We’ve made major progress, downtown development, in the last 10 years new development of older industries buildings have been redeveloped,” Higgins said.
Whoever wins the Democratic Primary in the 26th District will go on to face in the General Election, Steven Sams, a Western New York veteran who served in the Army.
Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.