Walton

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — When India Walton beat Buffalo’s four-term mayor in a Democratic primary last June, New York’s second largest city looked like it was about to get a leader like no other in its history.

Buffalo mayoral candidate India Walton is seen during a walking tour of local businesses in Buffalo, N.Y., on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. The race for mayor of Buffalo has four-term incumbent Byron Brown relying on a write-in campaign to fend off a challenge from newcomer Walton, who identifies herself as a democratic socialist. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex) © Provided by Associated Press Buffalo mayoral candidate India Walton is seen during a walking tour of local businesses in Buffalo, N.Y., on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. The race for mayor of Buffalo has four-term incumbent Byron Brown relying on a write-in campaign to fend off a challenge from newcomer Walton, who identifies herself as a democratic socialist. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex) FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, file photo, Buffalo mayoral candidate India Walton speaks to supporters during a campaign rally in Buffalo, N.Y. The race for mayor of Buffalo has four-term incumbent Byron Brown relying on a write-in campaign to fend off a challenge from newcomer Walton, who identifies herself as a democratic socialist. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, file photo, Buffalo mayoral candidate India Walton speaks to supporters during a campaign rally in Buffalo, N.Y. The race for mayor of Buffalo has four-term incumbent Byron Brown relying on a write-in campaign to fend off a challenge from newcomer Walton, who identifies herself as a democratic socialist. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex, File)

She’d be its first female mayor and the first to identify as a democratic socialist. After becoming a mother at age 14, she grew up to be a nurse and strived through a lifetime of financial hardship that continued through the campaign, when her car was impounded for unpaid parking tickets.

Buffalo mayoral candidate India Walton, right, shakes hands with Frederic Daniel, owner of Freddy J's BBQ, during a tour of local businesses with New York Sen. Sean Ryan, background, Monday, Oct. 18, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. The race for mayor of Buffalo has four-term incumbent Byron Brown relying on a write-in campaign to fend off a challenge from newcomer Walton, who identifies herself as a democratic socialist. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex): Election 2021 Buffalo Mayor © Provided by Associated Press Election 2021 Buffalo Mayor

But rather than pack up his City Hall office of 16 years, Mayor Byron Brown has stayed in the race in pursuit of his own superlatives: He’s trying to become the first person to win a major race as a write-in candidate in New York state, and — if he gets a fifth term — Buffalo’s longest-serving mayor.

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“Either way it’s going to be historic,” Nazareth College political analyst Timothy Kneeland said of the race, which is yet another marquee battle between the center and left of the Democratic Party.

Brown has gained traction by reversing his strategy from largely ignoring Walton to labeling her “an unqualified radical socialist" who will defund the police and raise taxes.

Imploring voters to “write down Byron Brown,” the mayor says he has earned another term after turning around a Rust Belt city of 280,000 that was in financial distress to one where the population and property values are rising.

FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, file photo, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, left, addresses a rally for Buffalo mayoral candidate India Walton in Buffalo, N.Y. The race for mayor of Buffalo has four-term incumbent Byron Brown relying on a write-in campaign to fend off a challenge from newcomer Walton, who identifies herself as a democratic socialist. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, file photo, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, left, addresses a rally for Buffalo mayoral candidate India Walton in Buffalo, N.Y. The race for mayor of Buffalo has four-term incumbent Byron Brown relying on a write-in campaign to fend off a challenge from newcomer Walton, who identifies herself as a democratic socialist. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex, File)

Recent polls show potential voters favoring Brown, but his name isn’t on the ballot and it is unclear whether that support will translate into write-in votes.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Buffalo native, has steered clear of choosing sides while the state's two Democratic U.S. senators, Majority Leader Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, are backing Walton.

“Any Democrat right now that is trying to establish a precedent of not uniting behind the party’s nominee is playing a dangerous game,” U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said during a recent trip to Buffalo to rally for Walton.

FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, file photo, Buffalo mayoral candidate India Walton speaks to supporters during a campaign rally in Buffalo, N.Y. The race for mayor of Buffalo has four-term incumbent Byron Brown relying on a write-in campaign to fend off a challenge from newcomer Walton, who identifies herself as a democratic socialist. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, file photo, Buffalo mayoral candidate India Walton speaks to supporters during a campaign rally in Buffalo, N.Y. The race for mayor of Buffalo has four-term incumbent Byron Brown relying on a write-in campaign to fend off a challenge from newcomer Walton, who identifies herself as a democratic socialist. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex, File)

Walton, who led a small housing trust before launching her campaign, promises a new, more progressive way of doing business, saying Buffalo's comeback has left many people behind.

“This is our city. We are the workers. We do the work. We are are sick and tired of those that have the most always getting everything,” she said at the rally with Ocasio-Cortez. The packed event also featured actress Cynthia Nixon, who unsuccessfully challenged former Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a 2018 primary with the backing of the Democratic Socialists of America, who also have endorsed Walton.

Walton, Kneeland said, is following an increasingly familiar strategy: “A progressive in a time period of great upheaval, understanding that people want change and then drawing on that energy to knock off a more moderate Democratic candidate.”

Brown has had to carefully navigate support from Republicans eager to thwart the democratic socialist candidate. He publicly declined backing from Buffalo developer and former Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino after he pushed the mayor to stay in the race.

FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, file photo, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown speaks to the media after filling out his ballot in Buffalo, N.Y. The race for mayor of Buffalo has four-term incumbent Brown relying on a write-in campaign to fend off a challenge from newcomer India Walton, who identifies herself as a democratic socialist. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex, File): Election 2021 Buffalo Mayor © Provided by Associated Press Election 2021 Buffalo Mayor

The Republican State Committee has promoted Brown in mailings that praise his “effective, commonsense leadership” and warn that “India Walton's radical agenda will destroy Buffalo.”


Video: Buffalo Mayoral Candidate India Walton Accepts Apology From State Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs (CBS New York)

Buffalo Mayoral Candidate India Walton Accepts Apology From State Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs > CBS New York See more videos "> See more videos > > > > > What to watch next
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