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The head of New York’s Democratic Party refused to resign this week after he compared a Democratic candidate for mayor of Buffalo to former KKK grand wizard David Duke. Jay Jacobs issued an apology but did not heed calls for his resignation from Democratic Party leadership.

India Walton, who won the Democratic primary for mayor of Buffalo, New York, identifies as a socialist, a move which clearly incensed Mr. Jacobs. The leader of the New York Democratic Party has failed to endorse Ms. Walton, who is now the official Democratic nominee for Buffalo’s mayor.

Mr. Jacobs stated that “not every candidate who wins a primary is entitled, unquestionably, to the endorsement of all Party leaders or elected officials.” He has not endorsed any candidate for Buffalo’s mayor, instead insisting that Democratic nominees must earn their endorsements from the party. 

India Walton could be Buffalo’s first socialist mayor

Meanwhile, Ms. Walton is an innovative powerhouse for the Democratic Party, a candidate who surprised both local and national Democrats alike when she bested four-time Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown in the Democratic primary. Ms. Walton, a single mother, registered nurse, and long-time community organizer, would be the first socialist mayor of Buffalo. 

She has the endorsement of New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an outspoken progressive and member of “the squad,” a group of female politicians on the national stage who promote humane, progressive legislation like the Green New Deal. 

Regarding his lack of endorsement of Ms. Walton, Mr. Jacobs stated, “Just take a scenario, a very different, where David Duke — you remember him? — the grand wizard of the KKK, he moves to New York, he becomes a Democrat, and he runs for mayor in the city of Rochester, which has a low primary turnout, and he wins the Democratic line. I have to endorse David Duke? I don’t think so.”

David Duke, the prominent KKK leader, briefly served in the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1989. Mr. Duke is an outspoken racist, who also hates Jews, and promoted legislation on behalf of a white America. 

Ms. Walton, for her part, noted “I am running for mayor of Buffalo as an expression of love,” and has vowed not to sink to the level of Mr. Jacobs. The Buffalo mayoral election will be held on November 2. 

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...