Buffalo, New York, Mayor Byron Brown was not even on the ballot for his mayoral election. Still, he has declared victory over Democratic candidate India Walton – a self-declared democratic socialist.
Unofficial results posted by Erie County show that Walton had 41.17% of the votes just after midnight, with 58.83% of voters choosing a write-in candidate – a difference of more than 10,000 votes.
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“The people chose four more years of the Brown administration,” Brown told supporters at approximately 10:30 Tuesday night, the Buffalo News reported. “The people chose one of the greatest comeback stories in our history.”
Incumbent Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown speaks to supporters at his election night party late Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021, in Buffalo, New York.
(AP/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
Brown’s declaration could be premature, as the current unofficial count does not include absentee ballots, and write-in ballots have yet to be examined and assigned to specific candidates. Still, he is confident that what appears to be a substantial lead will hold.
Fox News reached out to Walton’s campaign for comment on Brown’s victory announcement and the state of the race, but they did not immediately respond.
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As of 10:35 p.m. ET Tuesday, the Buffalo News reported that Walton was not yet ready to concede defeat.
““Every vote needs to be counted,” she said. “Right now, it’s Walton against ‘Write-In,’ whoever that is. I think that who ‘Write-In’ is, remains to be seen.”
Walton was the only candidate in the mayoral race, as she defeated Brown in the Democratic primary by just 1,049 votes. She won after receiving support from the Democratic Socialists of America.
Democratic Buffalo mayoral primary candidate India Walton delivers her victory speech after defeating incumbent Byron Brown on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, in Buffalo, New York. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)
Brown, refusing to accept that he was out of the running, then launched a write-in campaign. Walton, meanwhile, enjoyed backing from fellow democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. The two joined forces at a campaign event on Oct. 23, the first day of early voting in Buffalo.
Brown alluded to how the election’s outcome sent a message that Democratic voters rejected far-left policies in his speech Tuesday night.
“Today’s election was not just a referendum on the direction of the City of Buffalo,” he said. “It was a referendum on the future of our democracy and our vision for our future.”
Brown became Buffalo’s first Black mayor in 2006.
Fox News’ Dom Calicchio contributed to this report.