In what’s shaping up as a stunning upset, India Walton, a socialist candidate running her first political campaign in Buffalo, New York, appears set to defeat four-term incumbent Byron Brown in the city’s Democratic mayoral primary. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Walton has a lead of 1,507 votes.
The 38-year-old progressive challenger is now on track to become the city’s first female mayor and the first socialist mayor of a major US city in recent memory.
As my colleague Andrea Guzman wrote ahead of the race, Walton, who counts Missouri Democratic Rep. Cori Bush as a role mode, is a lifelong Buffalo resident, a former nurse, and the founding executive director of a local land trust:
In her first 100 days, Walton has promised to sign a tenant’s bill of rights that would install a tenant advocate and institute rent control. She wants to remove police from responding to most mental health calls. She plans to declare Buffalo a sanctuary city. She would be the first woman to be Buffalo’s mayor. While there are other radical mayors in the United States, Walton would be the only socialist mayor in a major city.
Walton was spotted celebrating as her campaign declared victory late Tuesday. “I won! Mommy, I’m the mayor of Buffalo!” she told her mother in a conversation caputured on video and posted to Twitter. On social media, notable progressives including Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York City socialist, congratulated Walton on her likely win.
India Walton leaves Poize Nightclub on Niagara Street to call her mom telling her she won mayoral democratic primary in Buffalo pic.twitter.com/tVNsy2mDe2
— Robert Kirkham (@RobertKirkhamBN) June 23, 2021
.@Indiawaltonbflo became a mother at 14 years old. She earned her GED while pregnant w/ twins.
She graduated, became a registered nurse, & then a representative in her union, 1199SEIU. Then directed a Community Land Trust.
Tonight it seems Buffalo may be making her Mayor. https://t.co/SlKY0fXKF5
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 23, 2021
This is the old man who had his head cracked open by Buffalo cops last year https://t.co/7UjPwPRfM5
— pipe hitter (@lib_crusher) June 23, 2021
Brown, who refused to even debate Walton ahead of Tuesday’s election, has yet to concede. For more on the country’s (likely) next socialist mayor, be sure to read Andrea’s insightful piece here.