India Walton says “it seems unlikely” she’ll have enough votes to be elected mayor

India Walton-Byron Brown mayoral race

Buffalo mayoral candidate India Walton is seen during a walking tour of local businesses in Buffalo, N.Y., on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Democratic candidate India Walton says it doesn’t look like she’ll have enough votes to be elected Mayor of Buffalo.

In a new statement released Wednesday afternoon, Walton said “While we anticipate that the margins will narrow, it seems unlikely that we will end up with enough votes to inaugurate a Walton administration in January.”

Current Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown appears to have a clear lead in the race after campaigning as a write-in candidate. As of Tuesday night, there were more than 34,000 votes for a write-in candidate and nearly 24,000 for Walton.

RESULTS | See the latest election results here.

The race results are not official yet, as absentee ballots still need to be counted, and it’s not yet clear how many of the write-in votes were for Brown. If he is elected, he will become the first five-term mayor in Buffalo history.

Walton’s full statement, which was posted to Twitter, can be read below:

“After sleeping on last night’s results and speaking with my team this morning, I wanted to update you all on the state of the race.

Tens of thousands of write-in and absentee ballots have yet to be tabulated, and we believe that democracy requires that every vote be counted, and that any improprieties that occurred be brought to light. However, while we anticipate that the margins will narrow, it seems unlikely that we will end up with enough votes to inaugurate a Walton administration in January.

I couldn’t be more proud of the campaign we ran. It wasn’t just a field program with a messaging strategy attached; it was a deeply felt love letter to the working people of our beautiful city.

This was a special campaign. Our volunteer operation was unprecedented in Buffalo political history. We raised over one million dollars from thousands upon thousands of small dollar donors. We introduced Buffalo to bold, transformative ideas like Community Land Trusts, LIFE Camp, and survivor-based restorative justice, and earned tens of thousands of votes for our vision.

Those votes came from the exact base we set out to organize. The wealthier a district was, the more likely it was to go for a write-in candidate. The districts with more poor people, more Buffalonians of color, and less affordable rents voted for us.

One major accomplishment of ours is ending the era of complacent Buffalo politicians. No longer can they feel confident that they can rest easy in their seats of power. No longer can feel that their offices are safe without having to do anything to improve the lives of their constituents. They now know that, unless they step up for our city, their careers are at risk. We taught them that.

Think of all we had to overcome. The New York State Republican Party leadership went all in against us, and many high profile Democrats declined even to defend us against them. Millions of dollars came pouring in to finance attack ads, personal smears, and racist, sexist fear-mongering. Every dirty trick in the book was tried against us, from draining our resources in legal fees, to playing flagrant lies on a loop, to Republican poll inspectors pre-stamping ballots. The hostility and aggression against us were ugly and relentless, in the streets, in the press, and on social media.

We knew that would be the case. When you take on the corrupt and powerful, you can’t expect them to play fair.

We fought as hard as we possibly could. We left everything on the field. And I believe today, as fervently as I ever have, that the hour will come when we will finally draw down power to the everyday people of this city, and build the safe, healthy Buffalo we all need and deserve.”

Democratic candidate India Walton

A spokesperson for Walton says her statement is not a concession.

“When all the votes are tabulated, if we are behind, we will concede,” he said.

MORE | Buffalo mayor race: Byron Brown’s write-in bid appears successful, leading India Walton

Buffalo Mayoral Race

Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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