India Walton, socialist candidate, ready to become the first woman mayor of Buffalo, New York
ROCHESTER, NY – India Walton on Tuesday won an apparent victory over four-term holder Byron Brown in a Democratic primary for mayor of Buffalo, making her poised to become the first woman and the first socialist to lead the second-largest New York City.
Walton, a nurse and community organizer who ran a Buffalo land trust, led Brown by 1,507 votes with all in-person votes counted, an almost insurmountable margin that nearly matched the number of mail-in ballots remaining to be counted.
As Republicans did not field a candidate, the primary victory paves the way for Walton to become mayor of the strongly Democratic city of 260,000.
Assuming Walton was elected, Buffalo would become the largest American city to have a socialist mayor since Milwaukee in 1960.
“Tonight’s result proves that the Buffalonians demand community-driven, people-driven government, and we stand ready to serve them,” Walton said in a statement. “For too long we have seen our city working for politicians, for developers, for the police union but not for ordinary working families.”
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Walton continued, “In our town, everyone will have a seat at the table.”
Walton had the support of the Democratic Socialists of America, the largest socialist organization in the country, as well as the Working Families Party, the third influential leftist party in New York City.
Brown, a former state senator, had been elected mayor of Buffalo since his first election in 2005, winning four terms before his apparent defeat on Tuesday night.
A longtime ally of Governor Andrew Cuomo, Brown served as chairman of the state’s Democratic Party before stepping down in 2019.
The outgoing mayor refused to give in in a brief speech Tuesday night, according to the Buffalo News.
“Things are very tight,” Brown said, according to the newspaper. “They are too tight to call now.”
Walton’s apparent victory marked a historic moment for the city of Buffalo, whose 62 mayors dating back to 1832 were all male.
As Walton gave his victory speech Tuesday night, his supporters chanted, “Madam Mayor. Madam Mayor.”
“This victory is ours,” said Walton. “This is the first in a long series. If you are currently in elected office, you have been warned. We are coming.”
The Buffalo Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America congratulated Walton on his apparent victory with a series of tweets on Tuesday night.
“Socialism won tonight”, the organization tweeted.
Follow Jon Campbell on Twitter at @JonCampbellGAN.
This article originally appeared on New York State Team: India Walton, a socialist candidate, ready to become mayor of Buffalo