BUFFALO MAYORAL ELECTION 2021

The latest information on the local election season.

The history that explains why a democratic socialist may be Buffalo’s next mayor

By Sean Dinces and Derek Seidman

Read the full article from Washington Post,here.

Walton’s stunning primary victory made national news, no doubt because it signaled the persistence of the left-wing political insurgency growing within the Democratic Party since at least 2016. That year marked Bernie Sanders’s unsuccessful, but formidable challenge to party standard-bearer Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary.

Walton’s ascent into the political limelight has been fueled by the local appeal of Sanders-style rhetoric, including her assertion that “housing, health care, healthy food, and a quality education are basic human rights.” Her primary victory also depended on a coalition similar to the one that powered Sanders: working-class people, young voters radicalized by issues like rising rents, and relatively affluent liberals troubled by the growing gap between the rich and poor.

In a setback for Black Lives Matter, mayoral campaigns shift to ‘law and order’

By Tim Craig

Read the full article from The Washington Post, here.

Mayoral candidates across the country are closing out their campaigns pledging to restore law and order, a major setback for racial justice protesters who only a year ago thought they had permanently reshaped the debate on policing in American cities.

As voters head to the polls Tuesday, local elections are dominated by discussions about safety and law enforcement amid a surge in violent crime. The tone of the debate, even in many liberal urban communities, highlights how major policing reforms have stalled.

How to fix Buffalo’s poverty? Mayoral candidates differ but agree City Hall can’t do it alone

By Caitlin Dewey

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

Few would argue that poverty isn’t a colossal problem in Buffalo – a problem so entrenched and ubiquitous, in fact, that it’s almost taken as a given. When Walton’s opponent, incumbent Mayor Byron Brown, entered office in 2006, the citywide poverty rate sat at 29.9%. It has not changed appreciably since then.

But Walton and Brown differ sharply in their beliefs about the policies best suited to address it. Brown, who rarely uses the word “poverty” in interviews or public appearances, has bet that economic development and partnerships with nonprofit organizations will improve neighborhood conditions and generate new and better jobs for low-income residents.

Walton, a self-described democratic socialist who has made poverty the key theme of her campaign, advocates for what some progressives call “regenerative” economics – collective ownership, such as co-operative businesses and community land trusts, that she says will more equitably spread wealth and power.

Who are the top 10 donors to India Walton, Byron Brown?

By Mary B. Pasciak

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

India Walton’s top donors are about as different as Byron Brown’s biggest backers as the candidates are themselves: academics and progressive activists back her, and developers and local business leaders supporting him.

Why Is This Happening? Why Is This Happening? Unpacking Buffalo’s mayoral race with socialist India Walton: podcast and transcript

By Why Is This Happening?

Read the full article from MSNBC, here.

39-year-old India Walton found herself thrust into the national spotlight when she defeated four-term incumbent Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown in the June primary. It was an unusual win: Walton had never held elected office, and Brown isn’t letting go of his seat without a fight. Following the stunning upset, the current mayor launched a write-in campaign, and many of the state Democratic establishment have refused to endorse Walton, who describes herself as a Democratic Socialist. Recently, New York State Democratic leader Jay Jacobs even compared her to KKK Leader David Duke, a characterization that he has since apologized for using. Walton has now received the endorsement of New York’s Democratic senators and she joins to discuss her journey from registered nurse and local activist to politician, why she feels the work of policing is “fundamentally wrong,” and proposed changes to Buffalo under her administration.

India Walton beat Buffalo’s mayor once. Can she do it again?

By Carolyn Thompson

Read the full article from AP News, here.

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.

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.

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.

State GOP aids mayoral bid of Brown, who is a former Dem chair

By Robert J. McCarthy

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

In this most unique of Buffalo mayoral elections, mailers from state Republicans have arrived at city homes over the past few days urging voters to write in Brown’s name on the ballot and lauding his “proven, common sense leadership.” They also note his support for police, protection for neighborhoods and that he is “fiscally responsible.”

Other mailers aim directly at his opponent, India B. Walton. The winner of the June Democratic primary, the mailers say, embraces a “radical agenda that will destroy Buffalo.” They picture her shouting into a bullhorn and claim Walton’s “destructive agenda will hurt Buffalo’s economy, raise taxes, increase rents and harm property values.”

Mayoral race driving early voting numbers

By Eric DuVall

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

Ballots cast in Buffalo for the hotly contested mayoral election dominated early voting for a second day, elections officials said late Sunday.

Erie County Board of Elections Commissioners Ralph M. Mohr and Jeremy J. Zellner announced that 3,371 voters cast ballots on the second day of early voting for the Nov. 2 general election, for an adjusted two-day total of 7,762.

Of votes cast Sunday, nearly half, 1,622 ballots, were by voters registered in Buffalo.

Polls will reopen from noon to 9 p.m. Monday for the third day of early voting. Registered voters in Erie County can cast ballots at any of the 38 polling locations now open.

Buffalo’s progressive nonprofits back Walton with ideas – and money

By Jerry Zremski

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

Sure enough, the Walton agenda appears to be the culmination of a progressive nonprofit movement in Buffalo that took root in the 2000s and that grew exponentially in the mid-2010s thanks to more than $5 million in grants from a charity founded by liberal billionaire George Soros.

That gift created Open Buffalo, which runs a leadership program that counts Walton among its graduates. And it supercharged a number of other local nonprofits – the Partnership for the Public Good, PUSH Buffalo, Voice-Buffalo, the Coalition of Economic Justice – that have provided ideas and energy to the Walton campaign.

How should police handle mental health calls? Buffalo’s next mayor will decide

By Aaron Besecker

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

The debate about the appropriate role police should take in mental health response often gets oversimplified, but most agree police involvement should be limited, said Elizabeth L. Mauro, CEO of Endeavor Health Services, a local nonprofit that provides mental and behavioral health services, including alongside city police.

2021 Election: Brown, Walton paint opposing pictures of housing in Buffalo

By Jonathan D. Epstein

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

The two leading candidates for Buffalo’s mayor are painting very different pictures of housing development in the state’s second-largest city.

Mayor Byron Brown sees a city on the rise, driven by adaptive reuse and new construction that has drawn new residents to Buffalo.

His opponent, Democratic nominee India Walton, sees an aging city mired in failed policies of the past, and challenged by an inability – or unwillingness – to meet the housing needs of its poor and minority populations.

Buffalo agency raided by FBI awarded $20 million in grants to Brown campaign donors

By Charlie Specht & Dan Herbeck

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

A Buffalo City Hall agency that was raided two years ago by federal agents has given $20 million in funds over the past eight years to contributors to Mayor Byron W. Brown’s campaign.

It has also sold property or awarded exclusive development rights to campaign contributors without public bidding, though the Brown administration says campaign cash has nothing to do with getting city contracts.

The Buffalo News analyzed eight years of spending by the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency, at whose offices the FBI executed a search warrant in 2019. The agency doles out millions of dollars in anti-poverty money and economic development funds the city receives from the federal government each year.

Meet India Walton: Black Socialist on Democratic Ticket for Buffalo Mayor Snubbed by NY Dem Party

By Amy Goodman & Juan González

Read the full article from Democracy Now!, here.

As early voting kicks off Saturday in a nationally watched mayoral race in Buffalo, New York, we speak with India Walton, who shocked the Democratic establishment when she defeated four-term Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown in the Democratic primary. Since then, the self-described socialist has faced stiff opposition from within her party, with many top Democrats in the state, including Governor Kathy Hochul and Senator Chuck Schumer, refusing to endorse her. State Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs even compared Walton to former KKK leader David Duke in an interview, for which he later apologized. Walton is a Black single mother, a registered nurse and longtime community activist. If elected on November 2, she will be the first mayor of a major American city in decades who identifies as a socialist. Walton says she is “hyper-focused” on her campaign and does not want to take part in the vitriol of her opponents. “I am running for mayor of Buffalo as an expression of love,” Walton adds.

Ocasio-Cortez to stump for Walton in Buffalo; Hochul remains on sidelines

By Robert J. McCarthy & Tom Precious

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

The hot contest for mayor of Buffalo is suddenly dominating New York’s political agenda as one of the state’s top figures plunges into the race and another clings to the sidelines.

The Buffalo News learned Tuesday that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of the Bronx will campaign in Buffalo on Saturday for a like-minded progressive, Democratic nominee India B. Walton, who is challenging four-term incumbent Byron W. Brown. At the same time, Gov. Kathy Hochul is making headlines by sitting out the race and expressing no preference for mayor of her hometown.

Democratic Boss Uses David Duke in Analogy About India Walton

By Nia Prater

Read the full article from Intelligencer, here.

When asked why several leaders in his party have yet to endorse Democratic primary winners such as Buffalo’s socialist candidate India Walton, the head of New York’s Democratic Party answered with an analogy that invoked an unexpected figure: David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. He quickly received backlash from some of his fellow Democrats.

Masten still a Byron Brown stronghold, but voters’ desire for change cuts into his support

By Deidre Williams

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

Community leaders say Brown still has support in Masten for the Nov. 2 election. But Walton has picked up support here, too, and holding down his vote totals in Masten could be pivotal to her chances.

The Masten District extends from Main Street to as far east as Bailey Avenue, and extends generally from East Amherst Street to as far south as Best Street, encompassing all or parts of the Hamlin Park, Delavan Grider, Fillmore-Leroy, Kensington Bailey, Genesee-Moselle and MLK Park neighborhoods.

Brown, Walton stress housing and development platforms in bids for support

By Deidre Williams & Mark Sommer

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

Housing and development emerged as a theme for both mayoral candidates as they hit the campaign trail less than a month before the general election.

Walton touted land trusts, and Brown acknowledged they have a role in the city’s future – to a degree.

Brown said he would continue working with developers on housing and commercial initiatives, and Walton acknowledged they also have a role in the city’s future – to a degree.

2021 election issues: Does Byron Brown deserve credit for Buffalo’s population increase?

By Jerry Zremski

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

This summer, Brown’s prediction came true. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that Buffalo’s population grew 6.5% between 2010 and 2020 – its first such increase in 70 years, coming at a time when cities such as Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Milwaukee and Detroit continued to lose residents.

But is Brown responsible for the turnaround?

The answer could be key to voters choosing between Brown, a four-term incumbent who is waging a write-in campaign against India Walton, the democratic socialist who unexpectedly beat him in June’s Democratic primary.

Fruit Belt land trust touted by India Walton ‘performing fine,’ funder says. Byron Brown is unimpressed

By Jonathan D. Epstein

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

Walton cites her work as founding head of the Fruit Belt Community Land Trust as evidence of her experience, and she sees the organization as a model to protect residents from gentrification in the city’s other neighborhoods.

Citing the land trust’s motto of “development without displacement,” she has called for a citywide federation of such independent entities, as part of a platform focused on workers, lower-income residents and the disadvantaged. And she says that’s central to her housing and development strategy.

Another Voice: Brown’s experience matters in mayoral race

By Barbara Miller-Williams & Patricia B. Pierce

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

Point duty in policing is holding a key location to control the flow of traffic. In the military, it’s the most dangerous position at the head of a maneuver. In a lifetime of service, we’ve taken points of control and recognize the importance of leadership.

We believe Mayor Byron W. Brown should remain on point representing Buffalo. He is the most qualified candidate in the race measured by integrity, experience and results.

FBI investigations of Byron Brown linger with no charges in sight

By Dan Herbeck , Charlie Specht

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

For more than six years, FBI agents and federal prosecutors have investigated people, businesses and political organizations closely associated with Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown.

Walton wants more money for Buffalo schools; Brown says he already increased funding

By Deidre Williams

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

Still, the scope of Buffalo’s support of the school district figures to be a campaign issue leading up to the November general election. Indeed, it already has played a pivotal role. Walton’s stance earned her an important endorsement from the Buffalo Teachers Federation – a union that represents more than 3,800 teachers – and contributed to her surprising victory over four-term incumbent Mayor Byron W. Brown in the June 22 Democratic primary.

Brown does not support the funding model Walton has touted, pointing out the city has increased its payments to the district since he took office 2006. The Buffalo district already receives a share of the county sales tax – as do all districts – and receives “a significant” chunk of the city’s property tax revenue, he said.

Another Voice: Brown and his party disrespect the tenets of Democracy

By Beth Kwiatek

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

Byron Brown’s write-in campaign and the Democratic Party’s lack of support and protection for India Walton reflect a dangerous and growing trend within our nation: the subversion of democratic rule. Alarmingly, they have disguised those actions, including Brown’s behavior before and after the primary, as political strategies.

New poll puts Brown 10% ahead of Walton in Buffalo mayor’s race

By Marian Hetherly

Read the full article from WBFO, here.

A new poll shows Buffalo incumbent Mayor Byron Brown ahead of Democratic nominee India Walton by 10% as the election approaches in November.

The latest Emerson College/WIVB phone poll was conducted Aug. 7-8, asking the question, “If the Buffalo mayoral election were held today, who would you vote for?”

Common Council researching form of governance that replaces the mayor

By News Staff Reporter

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

The Buffalo Common Council will “explore” a city manager form of governance to replace the office of mayor.

Under such a plan, a city manager would be selected by the nine-member Council in conjunction with the community to “carry out the will of the Council members,” University Council Member Rasheed N.C. Wyatt told The Buffalo News.

Brown commits to mayoral debate co-sponsored by The Buffalo News

By Harold McNeil

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown has committed to participating in a debate against his opponent in the mayoral race, Democratic Party nominee India B. Walton, in an event being sponsored by The Buffalo News, WGRZ and Buffalo Toronto Public Media.

Walton, who defeated Brown in the Democratic primary, was out of town, and her campaign has not yet committed to participating in the 7 p.m. Oct. 12 debate.

Professionals from city’s wealthier areas powered India Walton to victory

By Jerry Zremski

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

Walton grew up poor in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods, but she beat Buffalo’s four-term mayor, Byron W. Brown, with votes – and a lot of campaign help – from professionals in the city’s wealthier enclaves. And now Walton and her supporters are working to defeat Brown’s write-in bid in November and create a progressive city administration led by a self-proclaimed democratic socialist.

Six Takeaways From India Walton’s Historic Victory in Buffalo

By Russell Weaver

Read the full article from Jacobin, here.

As clichéd as it sounds, Buffalo’s historic June 2021 primary, in which democratic socialist India Walton won a major upset over four-term incumbent Byron Brown, is something of a tale of two cities. And it’s the same tale that Buffalonians have discussed for generations: the “East-West divide” carved by Main Street through the heart of the city.

India Walton’s mayoral campaign reinforces progressive police proposals

By Robert J. McCarthy

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

Walton cruised to victory last month by emphasizing new ways to solve old problems, especially in policing. She reiterated on Wednesday her plan to reallocate $7.5 million of the Police Department budget to programs that link usual subjects of police attention to mental health services. Her Wednesday event also marked the first of many in which she is expected to highlight her proposals, backed by high-profile figures like Williams. Others with similar socialist philosophies – such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of the Bronx and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont – are mentioned as other potential campaign allies.

As the fall campaign begins, India Walton confronts questions over her past

By Maki Becker

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

A self-proclaimed democratic socialist who vows to “put people first,” she said her life – growing up poor on the East Side, being a single mother of four boys, being a nurse and a community organizer and having firsthand experience being arrested by Buffalo police – has prepared her for this moment as she faces a write-in campaign from an emboldened Brown in the general election on Nov. 2.

What the primary vote tells us

By Geoff Kelly

Read the full article from Investigate Post, here.

Ken Kruly is a political analyst for WGRZ-TV, publisher of Politics and Other Stuff and author of Money In Politics for Investigative Post. In an analysis for Investigative Post, Kruly compared Brown’s performance this year to the results of his previous four mayoral campaigns. He found Brown’s share of the vote dropped in six of the nine Common Council districts compared to four years ago.

How India Walton would revamp policing in Buffalo

By Aaron Besecker & Maki Becker

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

“She will prioritize addressing the root causes of crime such as concentrated poverty and lack of living-wage jobs,” according to her platform on her campaign website, and she would emphasize “harm reduction and restorative justice programs rather than punitive measures.”

How Did a Socialist Triumph in Buffalo?

By Michelle Goldberg

Read the full article from The New York Times, here.

That danger is real. Polls reveal that both Black and white voters reject the slogan “Defund the police.” Yet Walton has shown that even in a city where shootings have surged a staggering 116 percent so far this year, a socialist promising police reform can win.

Walton’s campaign outworked Brown

By Geoff Kelly

Read the full article from *InvestigatePost, here.

She’d beaten Brown by 1,507 votes, according to the unofficial tally by the Erie County Board of Elections. That’s more than the absentee ballots left to be counted. She won almost 52 percent of the vote to Brown’s 45 percent. Le’Candice Durham, a City Hall employee whose campaign seemed designed to siphon votes from Walton to benefit Brown, got 650 votes, or just over 3 percent.

Socialist India Walton scores upset victory in Buffalo mayoral primary

By Tal Axelrod

Read the full article from The Hill, here.

India Walton scored a stunning upset in the Democratic mayoral primary in Buffalo, N.Y., putting her on track to become the city’s first female executive and the country’s most high-profile socialist mayor in decades.

‘Shock to the political establishment:’ Local reaction to India Walton’s victory

By Thomas O’Neil-White

Read the full article from WBFO, here.

“Walton was well established in the Fruit Belt community,” he said. “Well established had a job had work, etcetera. But like a lot of people close to the ground, she knew that the time for change was now. We could see it all over the place that people were hungry for bold, new leadership.”