Bad news for the City of Buffalo’s four-term mayor Byron Brown as Brown has apparently been upset in the Democratic primary by newcomer India Walton, who stunned political observers (and of course soon-to-be former Byron Brown) with her win. The primary is the unofficial race for mayor since there are no other candidates. Brown who was looking to make local history by becoming the city’s first five-term mayor is all but finished barring: 1) a miraculous write-in campaign; 2) a miraculous discovery of absentee votes for Brown; or 3) an unfortunate incident that takes India out of the campaign when voting is held in the fall. While Ms. Walton appears to be in the winner’s circle, she’s leaving nothing to chance.
Local CBS affiliate WIVB-TV reported on the electoral excitement including what can only be described as a piss-poor turnout by voters:
Walton beat Brown during early and Primary Day voting by about 1,500 votes, 11,132-9,625. Turnout for the election was “terrible,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said Tuesday. Gov. Andrew Cuomo criticized Brown’s campaign strategy Wednesday while addressing voter turnout:
“Super low turnout,” Cuomo said. “Mayor Brown, who I know very well – and I have nothing but good things to say about Mayor Brown – but he decided basically, his campaign strategy as I understand it was basically to avoid engaging in a campaign, and then you had a very low turnout. We know that combination, we’ve seen that before. That doesn’t work. Avoiding the campaign, this isn’t really happening, doesn’t work. And then you wind up with a very low turnout and the only people who vote are the people who are organized by the opponent. We’ve seen that movie before.
The bottom line is that India Walton seems to have run a splendid campaign. As someone who was briefly involved with Buffalo politics during the 1990s, I know that grass roots campaigns have pulled off some major surprises at polling places. Nevertheless, Ms. Walton appears to understand nothing is over until she is sworn into office. Just check out a recent tweet:
Ms. Walton has acknowledged she will be a “socialist mayor” and according to the previously cited WIVB article:
Walton did not hesitate Tuesday night when asked directly if she considers herself a socialist.
“Oh, absolutely!” Walton said outside Poize Restaurant and Lounge on Niagara Street, where her supporters gathered for her election-night party. “The entire intent of this campaign is to draw down power and resources to the ground level and into the hands of the people.”
Congratulations to Ms. Walton on her apparent primary win and good luck in the fall. This election is a reminder never to take anything for granted.