Buffalo, N.Y., is waking up to the possibility that it may soon have its first socialist mayor after India Walton took the lead over incumbent Mayor Byron Brown in Tuesday’s Democratic primary election.
Walton, a progressive candidate who was endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America, would also be the first female mayor of New York’s second-largest city if she wins the general election in November.
Walton, 38, had a seven-point lead over Brown with all in-person votes counted. The Associated Press called the race for Walton on Wednesday morning, but Brown did not immediately concede the race, suggesting he would wait for the rest of the votes to be tallied, according to Spectrum News reporter Ryan Whalen.
“We’re going to watch every vote. We’re going to make sure every single vote is counted,” Brown said.
Erie County election officials still had not counted any provisional votes or absentee ballots, which can be accepted up to seven days after the election if they were postmarked by Election Day.
Republican Commissioner Ralph Mohr told NPR that as of Wednesday morning, the county had received about 1,500 absentee ballots, roughly the size of Walton’s lead.
The winner of the primary typically goes on to become mayor
No Republicans ran in the primary election for mayor. In Buffalo, a strongly Democratic city, the winner of the Democratic party typically goes on to win in the general election.
Walton, a nurse and community activist, claimed the win Tuesday evening during an election night event with supporters.
“This victory is ours. It is the first of many,” Walton told the crowd. “If you are in an elected office right now, you are being put on notice. We are coming.”
Walton was also seen celebrating in an emotional phone call with her mother that was captured on video by The Buffalo News.
“Mommy, I won. Mommy, I’m the mayor of Buffalo. Well, not until January, but, yeah.”
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