Jun 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Socialist candidate defeats Democratic incumbent in Buffalo mayoral primary

India Walton.
India Walton. Photo: Lindsay DeDario / Reuters

Self-identified socialist India Walton has defeated four-term Democratic incumbent Byron Brown in Buffalo's mayoral primary, AP projected on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Walton's win is likely to precede a general election victory in a heavily Democratic city that hasn't elected a Republican mayor since 1965. She would be Buffalo's first female and first Black female mayor, and the first socialist mayor of a major American city since 1960, per the New York Times.

  • Walton, a former nurse and activist, ran with the support of the Democratic Socialists of America and the Working Families Party.

Brown, who once led New York's Democratic Party, did not concede Tuesday night as the margin between him and Walton widened. It was about 7%, or about 1,500 votes, when AP called the race.

  • Brown did not vigorously campaign, per the Times, and opted against debating Walton.

What they're saying: "Tonight’s result proves that Buffalonians demand community-minded, people-focused government, and we’re ready to serve them," Walton said in a statement after she declared victory, per the Times.

  • “For too long, we’ve seen our city work for politicians, for developers, for the police union, but not for ordinary working families. In our city, everyone will have a seat at the table."
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