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Erie County Democrats stand behind India Walton, despite Mayor Brown’s write-in campaign

Jeremy Zellner and India Walton
Jeremy Zellner
Jeremy Zellner and India Walton pose for a photo outside the Erie County Democratic Committee office Monday. Zellner, the committee's chairman, confirmed the party's support of Walton despite Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown announcing a write-in campaign.

The Erie County Democratic Committee is backing India Walton, the winner of the Democratic primary election for Buffalo mayor.

Walton, a political newcomer and Democratic Socialist, met with Committee Chairman Jeremy Zellner and top party officials Monday to talk about how to work together for the general election in November. Zellner tweeted about the occasion, saying the committee is “with her, now and through the general election in the fall.”

The meeting came on the same day Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, who lost to Walton by seven percentage points in the primary last week, announced he was back in the race. Brown will run a write-in campaign, backed by many City Hall workers and local business people.

Zellner and the Erie County Democratic Committee had originally endorsed Brown for the primary, but Zellner confirmed Monday that Walton is the Democratic candidate.

“We want to work with people to move our community forward,” he said. “[Walton] wants to bring a lot more development into the neighborhoods and make sure that our neighborhoods are not forgotten about. And we like her message now, but we've got to get our folks involved in this race so that we can win our races from the top to the bottom this year and be successful.”

Walton built an organization with door-to-door campaigning to win the primary, but getting her message out to the 155,000 voters in the city is very different from getting that message out to the traditionally small group that votes in primary elections. That’s where the Committee comes in.

Walton said running a campaign while trying to to prepare to be mayor isn't as difficult as it might sound. Although she had hoped for a cooperative transition, Walton said she and her aides expected Brown to launch a write-in campaign and were ready for his announcement.

“We never thought this was going to be easy and that is the reason why I am so happy to have the support of local leadership, state leadership and even national leadership that's going to ensure that we are able to make significant progress for the residents of the City of Buffalo,” she said.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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