India Walton (D), a nurse and community activist, defeated four-term incumbent Byron Brown (D) and Le’Candice Durham (D) in the Democratic primary for Mayor of Buffalo, New York, on June 22, 2021. According to unofficial results, Walton received 52% of the vote followed by Brown and Durham with 45% and 3%, respectively.
The New York Times‘ Luis Ferré-Sadurní described the race as an upset, saying the outcome “could upend the political landscape in New York’s second-biggest city and signal the strength of the party’s left wing.”
Brown was first elected Mayor of Buffalo in 2005 and won re-election three times. Before his defeat in 2021, Brown had won the four preceding Democratic primaries by an average of 26.5 percentage points. In 2021, he ran with the support of the Erie County Democratic Committee and multiple local labor unions including the Buffalo Central Labor Council.
Walton received endorsements from progressive organizations including Our Revolution and the local and national branches of the Democratic Socialists of America. She also received an endorsement from the Working Families Party of New York, which, until 2021, had endorsed Brown in all of his previous runs for mayor.
Since no Republicans filed to appear on the primary ballot, it is likely Walton will advance to the general election without major party opposition. If elected, Walton would become Buffalo’s first female mayor. She would also become the first socialist mayor of a large American city since 1960.
Learn more about the mayoral race in Buffalo here.