Walton Vows to Continue to Work for the People Votes May Not Be Finalized for Weeks
What a difference a few months make.
In June India Walton, a bright young political newcomer, defeated four-term entrenched incumbent Byron Brown in a stunning primary election day upset victory. The win made national news, thrusting Ms. Walton, a Democratic Socialist, into the national spotlight, as she was poised to become Buffalo’s first female mayor and the first socialist mayor of a large U.S. city in 60 years.
But Tuesday night the tables turned as preliminary voting results in the November 2 general election strongly suggested that Mayor Brown would win a stunning victory as a write in candidate against Ms. Walton for an unprecedented fifth term. The numbers are convincing, but nothing can be finalized until after all of the write-in, absentee and military votes have been counted. And that count, experts say, could take until the end of the month – and longer if there are any court challenges.
It was a gracious Ms. Walton who took the development in stride.
“I am not disappointed by any means. I’m actually encouraged by the level of engagement we’ve seen this election on the local, statewide and national levels.”
“I look forward to continue to work with the citizens of Buffalo – the working class people, those who have gone unseen and unheard for far too long,” she said on election night. “I think that at the end of all of this when the dust settles, we will continue to make progress, continue to reduce poverty and make sure that we shine a bright light on those who have lived in the shadow for far too long…” She thanked all her supporters and said she was looking forward to working with any elected official moving forward.
-Four More Years-
Mayor Brown delivered an energetic victory speech and thanked exuberant supporters chanting “four more years!”
“They said it was impossible to win a write in,” said Brown, “ but you can’t count a Buffalonian out!” His win, he declared, “was one of the greatest come back stories in our history.”
“The people have spoken from every community of Buffalo, cutting across demographic lines,” he continued. Their choice, he said, was four more years of his administration; four more years of “diversity, opportunity and inclusion for all.”
“The people choose four more years of growth ,stemming from investment flowing into our city and you know what? Businesses and those who build businesses that create jobs are not the enemy,” he continued to cheers. “
There were two other write-in candidates in the mayoral race – Ben Carlisle and Republican Jaz Miles. It has yet to be known how many of the total write-in votes went to those candidates.
Despite Mayor Brown’s apparent historic comeback and claims of 16 years of successful governing, the realities of this city tell yet another story; realities that will take more than 4 more years to remedy.
Consider for example: Buffalo has the second-highest child poverty rate among major U.S. cities and the third-highest overall poverty rate according to 2019 Census data. Rents have skyrocketed even as whole neighborhoods of dilapidated and abandoned homes stretch across the city. Basic infrastructure has deteriorated. Food insecurity runs rampant, while low-wage service, retail and care sector jobs dominate the local employment market. Public schools continue to struggle, and the city made national news last year when police assaulted a 75-year-old protester who Mayor Brown referred to as a major agitator. While leaders in nearby Rochester have aggressively tackled lead poisoning, Buffalo maintains one of the highest rates of lead exposure for
Children and the East side remains the “hole in the proverbial donut” as it relates to the city’s overall “renaissance.”
The struggle continues.