BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Mayoral candidate India Walton appeared to pull a stunning upset in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, unofficially beating four-term mayor Byron Brown, 11,132-9,625.
Brown did not concede Tuesday night, telling his supporters he would wait for every vote to be counted. The result remains unofficial, with 100% of precincts reporting but absentee ballots still to be counted.
Walton, 38, is on track to become the first female mayor in Buffalo history. Elections officials confirmed to News 4 Tuesday morning that no one has filed paperwork to be on any other line in November.
Barring an ambitious write-in campaign or an unforeseen circumstance turning the primary in Brown’s favor, Walton will be mayor next year.
“This is the work of a well-meaning group of rebels and revolutionaries that had a bold vison on what we want the future of our city to look like,” Walton said in speech that was frequently interrupted by supporters chanting her name.
“We set out to not only change Buffalo but to change the way processive politics are viewed in Upstate New York,” she added. “… From the very start, I said, this is not about making India Walton the mayor of Buffalo. This is about building the infrastructure to challenge every damn seat — I’m talking about committee seats, school board, common council.”
Watch Walton’s Tuesday night victory speech here:
Walton, a nurse and activist who campaigned on the idea that it’s time for a change in the city’s leadership, had endorsements from the Working Families Party, the Buffalo Teachers Federation, the Buffalo chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, and others.
Brown, the incumbent, was seeking to become the first mayor in Buffalo’s history to serve five terms.
Walton led Brown in early voting, 1,464-1,089, and held a slim but growing lead the entire night.
Le’Candice Durham, a complaint clerk for the City of Buffalo, finished a distant third with 650 votes.
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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.