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Egriu is planning to primary Higgins from the left

It’s rumored that Buffalo businessman Eddie Egriu (pronounced e-grew) is considering challenging Congressman Brian Higgins in this year’s Democratic congressional primary, but the East Side entrepreneur is keeping a curiously low profile.  Mr. Egriu’s volunteers have been seen circulating his nominating petitions, particularly in the Jefferson avenue neighborhoods where he has built several small businesses.

Mr. Egriu is known to be a liberal populist and fervent defender of the working poor and other marginalized populations. He is a cofounder of PUSH USA and has been a prominent longtime activist since the early 1980s. But, when asked about the campaign that he’s rumored to have already launched, he was curiously brief.

“We may have a big announcement for you shortly, but no comment for now. Thanks,” he said quickly.

The featured picture above is from a Facebook group that has been launched to promote Mr. Egriu’s candidacy for Congress.  One can derive from the postings to his Facebook page that Mr. Egriu is campaigning robustly – and perhaps even more interesting, he seems to have a deep base of support on Buffalo’s East Side.

Egriu is an Albanian-American who escaped a dictatorship, moving to America when he was 6 years old.  His writings indicate that he intends to stand up for the poor and marginalized. He is a well-known figure in local immigrant communities.

Reviewing the entirety of his Facebook presence, reasonable minds can conclude that Congressman Brian Higgins will have an aggressive populist challenger in a primary from the left, who is vigorously campaigning in the most neglected section of Mr. Higgins’ congressional district with a deeply class based message about jobs, community development, and economic opportunity.

Eddie Egriu with BJGThen why is Mr. Egriu so quiet when asked about his campaign?

According to a March 2nd Facebook post, Mr. Egriu writes: “Decision has been made: we will announce on March 10th that Egriu will run for Congress. Stay tuned for the location.”

It seems Mr. Egriu is on the brink of announcing that he will challenge Congressman Higgins, who has been unable to placate the liberal wing of the local party and has frequently angered new urbanists, clean air advocates, and others.

“You will not agree with me on every issue, but I hope you can agree with me that every vote in Congress should be based on what is good for average people, not the Federal Government, not the big banksters, not the Federal Reserve, not the plutocrats, not the special interests and not the politicians or the political class,” Egriu writes on Facebook.


Written by Matthew Ricchiazzi

@MattRicchiazzi on Twitter

View All Articles by Matthew Ricchiazzi
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