Incumbent Byron Brown has claimed victory in last week’s Buffalo mayoral election, with his opponent, Democratic nominee India Walton, all but conceding Wednesday.
Walton, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, defeated Brown in the Democratic primary last spring, but Brown launched a write-in campaign in an effort to keep his job and win an unprecedented fifth term as mayor of Buffalo.
“Today’s election was not just a referendum on the direction of the city of Buffalo,” Brown said in an address to cheering supporters on election night. “It was a referendum on the future of our democracy and our vision for our future. At the very beginning, they said we couldn’t win, that it was impossible to win as a write-in [candidate]. But you can’t ever count a Buffalonian out.”
Walton appeared to hold out some hope of a victory but acknowledged that her chances appeared slim.
“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,” Walton said in a statement shared on her Twitter account the day after the election. “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.”
Walton garnered 23,986 votes, or 41.2% of all votes cast in person, while the remainder, 34,273 votes, went to one of the three write-in candidates, according to The Buffalo News. About 3,410 mail-in ballots, about 5.5% of the total, remain uncounted.
But Brown’s seeming victory hasn’t been called by the Associated Press and cannot be confirmed until later this month. Mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day must be counted as long as they arrived by Nov. 9. And due to state election law, the Erie County Board of Elections won’t begin examining write-in ballots until Nov. 17. Brown is expected to win the vast majority of those write-in ballots, but Benjamin Carlisle and Jaz Miles also waged write-in campaigns for mayor.
No matter what happens, the state must certify the election by Nov. 27.
Grant Ashley is a senior news/features editor and can be reached at email@example.com
Grant Ashley is the editor in chief of The Spectrum. He's also reported for WBFO, WIVB and The Buffalo News. He enjoys taking long bike rides, baking with his parents’ ingredients and recreating Bob Ross paintings in crayon. He can be found on the platform formerly known as Twitter at @Grantrashley.