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India Walton, a nurse, an activist and a mother of four just shocked the political world by becoming the presumptive next mayor of Buffalo, NY.
In her very first election, Walton ousted Byron Brown, the longest serving mayor in Buffalo’s history. Walton beat Brown by nearly seven percentage points in the city’s Democratic primary on Tuesday. No Republicans filed to run in the election, making Walton’s victory in the November election all but inevitable.
Walton would be the first woman and first Black woman to serve as mayor in the city’s more than 220 year history. She will also be the first socialist to lead a major US city in over 60 years.
Socialist beats billionaire-backed candidate
Video of an emotional phone call with her mother when she learned of her victory shows Walton yelling “Mommy, I won! Mommy, I’m the Mayor of Buffalo!”
Walton ran a grassroots campaign on bold, progressive ideas. Her platform includes diverting $7.5 million in funding from the Buffalo Police Department, using it instead to fund youth development and affordable housing programs.
Throughout the election, Walton’s opponent, four-term incumbent Byron Brown, reportedly refused to engage in debates and hardly campaigned. According to local news reports, billionaires and corporations pumped more than $100,000 into Brown’s campaign in the final days.
An unprecedented campaign
Primary election returns show Brown has no path to victory. However, the outgoing mayor has yet to concede and is reportedly mulling a write-in campaign against Walton in the fall.
Walton responded to reports that Brown is already mounting a challenge in a Twitter post. “Corporate interests and the establishment are petrified of our movement that puts working people first,” she wrote.
“But when we organize together, nothing can stop us.”
“This has been an unprecedented campaign like Buffalo has never seen,” Walton told The Buffalo News. “I’m extremely proud.”