Buffalo mayoral race: Byron Brown declares victory over socialist challenger India Walton
As of 12:30 a.m. ET, about 59 percent of the vote had been cast for registered candidates and 41 percent for Walton. Brown’s campaign likely explains the strong performance of the candidates entered on the ballot, but Erie County won’t start counting the written votes until November 17.
This makes it impossible to say for sure who voters wrote, despite Brown’s declaration of victory.
After effectively failing the nomination contest and refusing to engage with or debate Walton, Brown launched a well-funded general election campaign asking voters – this time, including independents and Republicans – to ” write Byron Brown ”.
The campaign distributed a stamp with his name in the tens of thousands to avoid misspellings and other clerical errors that could have tripped up his offer.
After being virtually ignored by the Main Democrats this spring, the race gained national attention as a proxy battle between progressives and moderates in the fall. While some state Democratic leaders like Governor Kathy Hochul – a native of Buffalo – remained neutral, many prominent state Democrats had backed Walton, including Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who noted in his endorsement that Walton “won the Democratic primary and fairgrounds.”
Walton had called for a reallocation of $ 7.5 million from the Buffalo Police Department’s budget, a program that sparked a series of attacks from Brown, who accused her of seeking to fund it – a term she rejected.
“The stakes are huge and extreme if she were to be elected,” Brown said in an interview with CNN before the early voting began. “It would take over our city horribly. It would compromise our public safety. It would increase our taxes. It would attack other elected officials from top to bottom. It would be a nightmare for every person in our community.”
Walton, a nurse and community organizer, rejected Brown’s tactics and told CNN that Brown lost his credibility with Buffalo voters when he refused to step down after losing the primary.
“Every ad he puts out is an attack on me and makes people fear me or try to do so,” Walton said. “An honorable campaign would be for him to share the plans he has for Buffalo’s future. An honorable plan would be for him to acknowledge the fact that he disrespected the voters of Buffalo by not holding a contest. primary.”
Schumer and Gillibrand didn’t go that far, but their decision to support Walton underscored the rise of progressive power in New York State. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and possibly 2022 gubernatorial candidate Jumaane Williams, the New York City public attorney and 2018 candidate for lieutenant governor, traveled to Buffalo to secure the vote for Walton and the Working Families Party, a New York national. Liberal group that supported Walton early on, spent the last days in the race.
Representative Tom Suozzi, a Democrat from Long Island who is rumored to also consider challenging Hochul next year, was among those outside to make the trip to Buffalo on Brown’s behalf.
“If Democrats continue to let the socialist message creep into the Democratic platform, we will lose. We will lose in Buffalo, we will lose in New York state, we will lose in the country,” Suozzi told CNN shortly before the general election.
“I won the Democratic primary,” Walton said. “I won because I worked hard. I won because people are ready for change. I won because Democrats came and voted for me. The progressive wing of our party . “
Ethan Cohen contributed to this report.