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Democratic socialist India Walton says victory in Buffalo mayoral race "seems unlikely" after incumbent's write-in campaign

Buffalo's incumbent Mayor Byron Brown appeared poised for victory Wednesday in the city's mayoral race, after Democratic socialist India Walton said "it seems unlikely that we will end up with enough votes to inaugurate a Walton administration in January." 

Walton has not officially conceded the race, and tweeted Wednesday, "When all the votes are counted, if we're still down, *then* we'll concede. Until then, relax."

Brown, a Democrat, had launched a write-in campaign after losing the primary to Walton in June. 

Brown, Buffalo's first Black mayor, drew considerable support from Republicans, real estate developers and Buffalo's police union in his write-in campaign. He called himself a "progressive moderate." 

Although election officials said Tuesday that it could take some time to count all the write-in votes, Brown declared victory that night with what appeared to be a 10,000-vote lead, if all the write-in votes were for Brown, according to CBS Buffalo affiliate WIVB

India Walton, Byron Brown Joshua Bessex/AP; Jeffrey T. Barnes/AP

As of Wednesday morning, "write-in" had 34,000 votes and Walton had 24,000 votes. Walton was the only candidate whose name appeared on the ballot.

"The people chose four more years," Brown said Tuesday night, according to WIVB. Referencing Walton's Democratic Socialist views, Brown said the election was "a referendum on the future of our democracy."

"At the very beginning, they said we couldn't win; it was impossible to win as a write-in," Brown said. "But you know, you can't ever count a Buffalonian out."

Walton said Tuesday night that she "will continue to fight for everyday Buffalonians who are struggling to make ends meet and live a quality life." .

Walton won the June primary by 1,500 votes. "This is organizing," she told a cheering crowd on the night of her upset victory. "When we organize, we win."

But instead of conceding the race, Brown launched a write-in campaign and set up his campaign headquarters across the street from hers. 

Walton, a 38-year-old nurse who has worked in government, secured the high-profile endorsements of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who represents New York, and Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

But Brown's ties to the Democratic party were strong — especially statewide officials. New York Democratic party chair Jay Jacobs declined to endorse, as did Governor Kathy Hochul, who is originally from Buffalo. 

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