BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — India Walton’s apparent victory over incumbent Byron Brown in this week’s Buffalo mayoral primary has been celebrated in progressive circles around the country – and the godfather of the movement has taken notice.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted Friday that he called Walton to congratulate her on her victory.

“Her win in the mayoral primary is an important step forward for the working people of Buffalo, and shows the political power of an agenda that puts people first,” Sanders tweeted to his 15.2 million followers.

Walton proudly considers herself a democratic socialist and is on track to become the first socialist mayor of a major American city since 1960. She will be the only candidate on the ballot in November, though some groups, such as the police union, are encouraging Brown to run as a write-in candidate.

Walton addressed her “democratic socialist leanings” Tuesday night after her primary victory.

“When we think about socialism, you know, we’re perfectly fine with socialism for the rich,” Walton said. “We will bail out Wall Street and banks and give a billion dollars in tax incentives to one of the richest people in the world to build an empty Tesla factory in South Buffalo, and when it comes to providing the resources that working families need to thrive, socialism becomes scary at that point. So, I’m very proud to be a democratic socialist. I am proud to have the support of Buffalo DSA and national DSA (Democratic Socialists of America).

“I received a call from Congresswoman AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a national leader in the left-wing movement) this evening and I’m just excited to be a part of this movement that is ushering progressive politics into Buffalo. Being the third-poorest midsize city in this country, we should be considering how we begin to eradicate concentrated poverty and disadvantage, and democratic socialist leanings are a big step in getting us there.”

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Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook and Twitter and find more of his work here.