Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown losing the Democratic primary would be the end of the run in almost any other state. Last week, Brown lost the Democratic nomination to political newcomer India Walton and Monday announced he would run as a write-in candidate.
New York doesn’t have laws preventing losing candidates from running against primary winners in a general election, and Brown is taking advantage of the loophole to get an election do-over against Walton in November.
In a press conference Monday, Brown claims his campaign heard from thousands urging him to run. Too bad Brown didn’t turnout those thousands of people to vote for him during the primary election.
Speaking with local media before Brown’s announcement, Erie County Legislator April Baskin said Democracy and process have played out. “India Walton came out with the most votes on Tuesday, and in my opinion, all democrats need to work together to support democracy and that process,” Baskin told News 4.
Most states have “sore loser” laws that prevent people who run in party primaries from turning around and running as independent or write-in.
Opponents of Walton had encouraged Brown to run a write-in campaign almost immediately after the results came in. Carl Paladino is a businessman and developer who is fixated on preventing Walton from becoming mayor.
Despite trying to distance himself from Paladino, local news reported Brown benefited from a political action committee that accepted donations from the developer. Paladino offered to support the mayor’s write-in campaign financially. A former school board member and New York co-chair of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, Paladino has a history of racist comments and sending inappropriate emails.
According to Ballotpedia, Walton, 39, received 52% of the vote to Brown’s 45%. The site mentioned that Brown won by double digits in prior primaries. Walton made history in the primary and is on track to become Buffalo’s first socialist mayor and first woman mayor.
Buffalo’s Democratic primary also highlights the importance of every vote, particularly in local elections. Local elections often have a lower turnout than high-profile presidential and congressional elections.
And while some lament the seemingly low turnout in the Democratic primary, it’s a sign that voters need to be more directly engaged in local elections.
BuffaloNews.com quoted a Republican former County Executive Joel A. Giambra as saying it was “terrible” more voters didn’t have an opportunity to weigh in on Walton’s candidacy. As Republicans failed to run a candidate in the primary, Giambra is also considering a possible write-in campaign.
Responding to the announcement, Walton said Brown would better spend his time aiding a seamless transition.
“It would be a shame for Brown to ruin his legacy by partnering with right-wing real estate developers in this pointless effort,” said Walton in a statement. “The people of Buffalo deserve so much better than this.”
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