Despite the support of two nationally known progressives, the party’s far-left mayoral candidate in Buffalo, New York, was behind early Wednesday – lagging behind the incumbent mayor she defeated in a primary election earlier this year.
Progressive India Walton had the backing of both the American rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y., and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., But when the city’s voters went to the polls, most decided to stick to the four-election period.
Brown ran as a write-in candidate after his primary defeat – and write-in ballots flooded in with a large volume, Buffalo News reported. The development led Brown to claim the victory – although the final results may take days or weeks to tabulate.
“The people chose four more years with a Brown administration,” Brown told supporters at his campaign headquarters, according to News. “The people chose one of the greatest comeback stories in our history.”
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When he declared victory, Brown quickly received congratulations from Nick Langworthy, chairman of the New York Republican Party.
“Congratulations Mayor @byronbrown,” Langworthy wrote on Twitter. “Socialism has been defeated in Buffalo!”
Earlier Tuesday, Brown tweeted a picture that showed supporters exactly how they would have to write in a voice on him, in the lower right corner of the ballot.
From 22:35 ET on Tuesday, Walton was not yet ready to admit defeat, News reported.
“Every vote has to be counted,” she said. “Right now it’s Walton against ‘Write-In’ whoever it is. I think whoever ‘Write-In’ is is going to show up.”
In late October, Ocasio-Cortez traveled to Buffalo to campaign for Walton, a 39-year-old nurse and political activist known for criticizing Brown’s handling of an incident in which city police officers shot an elderly protester to the ground in June 2020.
Walton initially endorsed the left’s call to “defuse the police” and was heard shouting swear words at anti-police protests, but as parliamentary elections approached, she diminished her critique of law enforcement and instead called for better police responsibility and roles for mental health professionals in dealing with Criminals, the Washington Post reported.
Other, more moderate National Democrats also supported Walton’s candidacy, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.
“Dems are best when we build a big tent and form inclusive coalitions to fight for ordinary people,” Schumer said last month in a statement supporting Walton.
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Walton aimed to become the first socialist mayor of an American city since Sanders served as mayor of Burlington, Vermont, during the 1980s, News reported. Had she won, she would also have been the first socialist mayor of a major American city since Frank Zeidler led Milwaukee, 1948-60, the report said.
After Brown lost to Walton in the June primary, he acknowledged that he was not working hard enough to defeat the emerging challenger and promised to fight harder as a writing candidate, News reported.
Brown, 63 – who became Buffalo’s first black mayor when he first took office in 2006 – had the backing of city police when Walton called for a $ 7.5 million cut from the force’s budget, The Associated Press reported.