Mayoral election in Buffalo, New York (2021)

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2021 Buffalo elections
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Election dates
Filing deadline: March 25, 2021
Primary election: June 22, 2021
General election: November 2, 2021
Election stats
Offices up: Mayor
Total seats up: 1 (click here for other city elections)
Election type: Partisan
Other municipal elections
U.S. municipal elections, 2021

Byron Brown (D) defeated India Walton (D) in the general election for mayor of Buffalo, New York, on November 2, 2021. Brown, who ran as a write-in candidate in the general election, received 59.6% of the vote to Walton's 40%.

Walton defeated Brown in the June 22 Democratic primary 51% to 46%.[6][7][8] Following his primary defeat, Brown announced he would run in the general election as a write-in candidate.[9]

Brown was first elected mayor of Buffalo in 2005 and won re-election three times before the 2021 election. Before losing the 2021 primary, he had won the four preceding Democratic mayoral primaries by an average margin of 26.5 percentage points.[10]

Prior to the election, The New York Times' Jesse McKinley said the mayoral race "reflects the defining tension within the national Democratic Party, pitting its new generation of left-wing politicians against its more moderate establishment," referring to Walton and Brown, respectively.[11]

Walton, a nurse and community activist, said Brown had not delivered results as mayor and his record "showed that he doesn't have much care ... for the people of Buffalo, unless they're wealthy developers or heads of large corporations."[12] She received endorsements from U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the local and national branches of the Democratic Socialists of America, and the Working Families Party of New York.[13][14][15] She also received a general election endorsement from the Erie County Democratic Party, which endorsed Brown in the primary but switched its support to Walton following her primary election victory.[16]

Brown, who became the city's longest-serving mayor in January 2021, said Walton was "an unqualified, inexperienced, radical socialist," and described the general election as "a choice between proven results and false, empty promises."[17][18] He received general election endorsements from U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.), Common Councilmembers Joseph Golombek (D), Christopher Scanlon (D), and Ulysees Wingo (D), and former Mayor Anthony Masiello (D).[19][20][21] He also received endorsements from The Buffalo News and the local, county, and state police benevolent associations.[22][23][24]

Both Walton and Brown also received support from satellite organizations. The Working Families Party’s national PAC supported Walton with satellite spending, while the New York State Association of Realtors and the New York Republican Party supported Brown.[25][26][27]

Sean "Jaz" Miles (R), Benjamin Carlisle (I), William O’Dell (I), and Taniqua Simmons (I) also ran in the general election as write-in candidates.

Click on candidate names below to view their key messages:



This election is a battleground race. Other 2021 battlegrounds include:

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Candidates and election results

General election
General election for Mayor of Buffalo

The following candidates ran in the general election for Mayor of Buffalo on November 2, 2021.


Image of

Byron Brown (D) (Write-in)

Image of

India Walton (D)

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Benjamin Carlisle (Independent) (Write-in)

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Sean Miles (R) (Write-in)

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William O’Dell (Independent) (Write-in)

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Taniqua Simmons (Independent) (Write-in)

Total votes: 64,361

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Democratic primary election
Democratic primary for Mayor of Buffalo

India Walton defeated incumbent Byron Brown and Le'Candice Durham in the Democratic primary for Mayor of Buffalo on June 22, 2021.


Image of

India Walton

Image of

Byron Brown

Image of

Le'Candice Durham
  Other/Write-in votes

Total votes: 23,186

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Withdrawn or disqualified candidates

Working Families Party nomination

New York allows for fusion voting, which is where more than one political party can support a common candidate. Consequently, the name of a single candidate can appear on the same ballot multiple times under multiple party lines. The Working Families Party of New York endorsed and nominated Walton in February 2021, but, on April 1, election officials ruled that she was ineligible to appear on the ballot as a Working Families Party candidate after she missed the deadlines to formally accept the group's nomination.[28]

Candidate profiles

This section includes candidate profiles created in one of two ways. Either the candidate completed Ballotpedia's Candidate Connection survey or Ballotpedia staff created a profile after identifying the candidate as noteworthy.[29] Ballotpedia staff compiled profiles based on campaign websites, advertisements, and public statements.

Image of Byron Brown


Party: Democratic Party

Incumbent: Yes

Political Office: 

  • Mayor of Buffalo (2005-present)
  • New York State Senate (2001-2005)
  • Buffalo Common Council (1995-2001)

Biography:  Brown received bachelor's degrees in political science and journalism from SUNY at Buffalo. After graduating, Brown worked for the Buffalo Common Council and the Erie County Legislature. Before he was first elected to office, Brown worked as director of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for Erie County and served as vice-president of Grassroots, a local political organization. Brown was the chairman of the New York Democratic Party from 2016 to 2019.

Key Messages

Brown emphasized his political experience and described the general election as "a choice between proven results and false, empty promises." He added, "[T]here's far too much at stake to stop now. We cannot afford to turn back Buffalo's progress."

Brown highlighted accomplishments from his previous terms, saying he lowered taxes, increased property values, oversaw economic development, and created jobs.

Brown referred to Walton as "an unqualified, inexperienced, radical socialist," and said that she would increase taxes and reduce funding to the city's police department.

This information was current as of the candidate's run for Mayor of Buffalo in 2021

Image of India Walton


Party: Democratic Party

Incumbent: No

Political Office: None

Biography:  Walton received an associate's degree in nursing from Erie Community College in 2007. Following her graduation, she worked as a registered nurse until 2017, at which point she became the lead organizer for Open Buffalo, a racial, economic, and ecological justice group. Walton also founded and worked as the executive director of the Fruit Belt Community Land Trust, a local community homeownership and revitalization group.

Key Messages

Walton said she would prioritize public safety and health, saying, "We envision a Buffalo where people are housed, healthy, and have the agency to live to their full potential."

Walton emphasized her background in nursing and community organizing, saying, "My experience is not in government, but it is in care ... I have lots of experience in caring for people in working in a coalition, and in actually listening to the concerns of the residents of Buffalo."

Walton said Brown had not delivered results as mayor, saying his record "showed that he doesn't have much care ... for the people of Buffalo, unless they're wealthy developers or heads of large corporations."

This information was current as of the candidate's run for Mayor of Buffalo in 2021


See also: Ballotpedia's approach to covering polls
Mayoral election in Buffalo, 2021: general election polls[30]
Poll Date Democratic Party Brown (write-in) Democratic Party Walton Republican Party Miles (write-in) Independent Carlisle (write-in) Independent O'Dell (write-in) Independent Simmons (write-in) Other Margin of error Sample size Sponsor
Emerson College/WIVB[31][32] Oct. 22-23, 2021 54% 36% - - - - 10%[33] ± 4.2 539 N/A
Emerson College/WIVB[34] Aug. 7-8, 2021 50% 40% - - - - 10%[35] ± 3.3 862 N/A

Noteworthy endorsements

This section lists noteworthy endorsements issued in this election, including those made by high-profile individuals and organizations, cross-party endorsements, and endorsements made by newspaper editorial boards. It also includes links to endorsement lists published on campaign websites, if available. Please note that this list is not exhaustive. If you are aware of endorsements that should be included, please email us.

Click the links below to see endorsement lists published on candidate campaign websites, if available.

Noteworthy endorsements
Endorsement Brown (D) (write-in) Walton (D)
Newspapers and editorials
Buffalo Bangla[36]
The Buffalo News[22]
Panorama Hispano News[37]
Elected officials
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)[38]
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)[39]
U.S. Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)[15]
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)[40]
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)[41]
U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.)[19]
State Sen. Jabari Brisport (D)[42]
State Sen. Sean Ryan (D)[43]
State Sen. Julia Salazar (D)[42]
State Assm. Phara Souffrant Forrest (D)[42]
State Assm. Emily Gallagher (D)[42]
State Assm. Zohran Mamdani (D)[42]
State Assm. Marcela Mitaynes (D)[42]
State Assm. Jonathan Rivera (D)[43]
Erie County Legislator April Baskin (D)[44]
Buffalo Comptroller Barbara Miller-Williams (D)[45]
Buffalo Common Councilman Joseph Golombek (D)[20]
Buffalo Common Councilman Christopher Scanlon (D)[20]
Buffalo Common Councilman Ulysees Wingo (D)[20]
Buffalo Common Councilman Rasheed Wyatt (D)[46]
New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (D)[47]
Frmr. Mayor Anthony Masiello (D)[21]
2018 N.Y. gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon (D)[48]
2018 N.Y. attorney general candidate Zephyr Teachout (D)[49]
AFSCME Local #815[50]
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1342[51]
Buffalo Building and Construction Trades Council[52]
Buffalo Council of Supervisors and Administrators[53]
Buffalo Police Benevolent Association[24]
Buffalo Professional Firefighters, Local 282[54]
Civil Service Employees Association Local 1000[50]
Democracy for America[43]
Democratic Socialists of America[55][43]
Elect Black Women[43]
EMILY's List[56]
Erie County Democratic Committee[57] [58]
Erie County Sheriff's Police Benevolent Association[24]
Grassroots Law Project[43]
Her Bold Move[43]
International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees Local 10[43]
International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees Local 52[54]
International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees Local 121[59]
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 41[60]
International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Local 3 New York[61]
International Union of Operating Engineers Local 17[62]
Ironworkers Local No. 6[63]
Lead Locally[43]
Muslim Alliance of Western New York[64]
New York State Nurses Association[65]
New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association[24]
Our City Action Buffalo[43]
Our Revolution[43]
People's Action Institute[43]
Progressive Change Campaign Committee[43]
Progressive Women of New York[43]
Rochester Regional Workers United[43]
Run for Something[43]
Tenants PAC[43]
United Auto Workers Region 9[66]
United Court Security Oficers[54]
United Food and Commerical Workers Local One[43]
Western New York Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO[67]
Western New York Association of Retired Law Enforcement Personnel[68]
Western New York Communication Workers of America[69]
Western New York Teamsters Joint Council #46[63]
Workers United[70]
Working Families Party of New York[43]

Campaign finance

Satellite spending

See also: Satellite spending

Satellite spending, commonly referred to as outside spending, describes political spending not controlled by candidates or their campaigns; that is, any political expenditures made by groups or individuals that are not directly affiliated with a candidate. This includes spending by political party committees, super PACs, trade associations, and 501(c)(4) nonprofit groups.[71][72][73]

This section lists satellite spending in this race reported by news outlets in alphabetical order. If you are aware of spending that should be included, please email us.

On Oct. 31, 2021, InvestigativePost's Geoff Kelly wrote:

As of Halloween, outside groups had doled out close to $1 million in independent expenditures — that is, at least under the law, money spent without the knowledge or consent of the candidates — supporting or attacking the two leading candidates.

That’s about one-eighth of all the independent expenditure dollars spent on politics across the entire state this fall.[74][75]

Below is a breakdown of satellite spending identified by Ballotpedia:

  • On Oct. 31, 2021, Kelly reported that Good Government for New York had spent $79,000 on mailers opposing Walton.[74]
  • On Oct. 22, the Huffington Post's Daniel Marans reported that the New York Republican Party had paid for mailers supporting Brown and opposing Walton.[26] View the mailers here.
  • The New York State Association of Realtors Fund spent $170,704 on canvassing in support of Brown on Sept. 15, 2021. InvestigativePost's Geoff Kelly described the group as "a lobbying organization that supports the real estate industry."[25] On Oct. 31, Kelley reported that the group also spent $117,000 on direct mail in October.[74]
  • On Oct. 19, 2021, The Intercept's Ryan Grim reported that the WFP National PAC, the political activity branch of the national Working Families Party, spent $150,000 on advertisements opposing Brown. View the ad here.[27] The Investigative Post's Geoff Kelly reported the group also spent $30,000 on phone banking.[76] By Oct. 31, Kelly reported that the state and national branches of the Working Families Party had spent a total of $587,000 supporting Walton.[74]



Campaign ads

This section shows advertisements released in this race. Ads released by campaigns and, if applicable, satellite groups are embedded or linked below. If you are aware of advertisements that should be included, please email us.

Democratic Party Brown

Supporting Brown

"Earn" - Brown campaign ad, released Sept. 8, 2021

A sample ad from the candidate's Facebook page is embedded below. Click here to see the candidate's Facebook Video page.

Opposing Walton

"Fired" - Brown campaign ad, released Sept. 14, 2021

Democratic Party Walton

Supporting Walton

"Let's Build a Better City Together" - Walton campaign ad, released Sept. 30, 2021
"Let's go, Buffalo! #Team716" - Walton campaign ad, released Jan. 24, 2021

A sample ad from the candidate's Facebook page is embedded below. Click here to see the candidate's Facebook Video page.

Opposing Brown

Independent Carlisle

A sample ad from the candidate's Facebook page is embedded below. Click here to see the candidate's Facebook Video page.

Satellite group ads

Debates and forums

October 27 debate

On October 27, 2021, Brown, Walton, and Carlisle participated in a debate hosted by St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute with questions prepared by the school's AP government students.[77]

Official debate video, livestreamed Oct. 27, 2021

Click on the links below for summaries of the debate from:

September 9 debate

On September 9, 2021, Brown, Walton, Carlisle, and Miles participated in a debate sponsored by the Buffalo Association of Black Journalists and WUFO and held at the Frank J. Merriweather Jr. Library.[80]

Official debate video, livestreamed Sept. 9, 2021

Click on the links below for summaries of the debate from:

Campaign themes

See also: Campaign themes

Democratic Party Byron Brown (write-in)

Campaign website

Brown's campaign website stated the following:

Dear Friends,

When you elected me as Buffalo’s Mayor in 2005, I promised that I would work to revitalize our City, build a safer, smarter, stronger Buffalo and ensure that every community shares in our opportunity and success. And we’ve made incredible progress.

We have made progress by growing our City for the first time in 70 years! Census numbers show a growth in our population to 278,000. Our Buffalo Complete Count Committee worked with community stakeholders to educate people in every community to show how an accurate count would direct hundreds of millions of dollars to Buffalo over the next ten years.

We have made progress by hiring the most diverse workforce in the history of the City of Buffalo. And we will continue to provide dependable, experienced leadership and management in City government. We will promote the concepts of diversity, equity and inclusion to increase the chance for every resident to succeed.

We have made progress by building a stronger economy. With 8 billion in new economic activity and the creation of more than 12,000 jobs, we are experiencing one of the fastest recovery rates from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. And we will accelerate economic development, job creation and job training to continue to improve quality of life Citywide, as we implement a plan for a complete and rapid post-pandemic recovery.

We have made progress by keeping Buffalo affordable. We reduced residential property tax rates in Buffalo by 16%, making it much easier for families to own homes. Hundreds of millions have been spent on affordable housing, and when the moratorium on eviction and foreclosure expires, we will partner with the State to connect qualified residents with HUD-certified mortgage counselors to assist with loan modifications and provide referrals, as well as providing up to 12 months of rental and utility assistance to residents impacted by the pandemic.

We have made progress by making our neighborhoods safer. We have hired more than 200 new police officers, torn down more than 6,000 blighted vacant structures, installed hundreds of surveillance cameras, and taken over 15,000 illegal guns off our streets. We’ve created and deployed a specially trained behavioral health team to respond to mental health crises with mental health professionals from Endeavor Health Services alongside police officers. All of our police officers are, and will continue to be, trained community police officers.

We have made progress by dedicating resources to our Citywide Infrastructure Program. We have allocated more than $200 million for engineering capital improvements since 2006, including paving, and curb and sidewalk upgrades. We have returned cars to Main Street and rehabilitated commercial corridors in every neighborhood across the City of Buffalo.

We have made progress by creating opportunity for Buffalo youth. 12,000 children have completed our Reading Rules! Summer Reading Program. We have provided millions for free college tuition for high school graduates, created 22,000 job opportunities through our Summer Youth Internship and Employment Program, and have provided more than a billion dollars in direct funding to the Buffalo Public Schools. And we’re investing in broadband Internet access in every community across our City.

We have made progress by investing in our local businesses and our workers. Throughout the pandemic, the City of Buffalo facilitated direct aid for our local businesses through grants and programs, and we stood up a 100 percent virtual employment center with counseling, referrals and job placements for our residents. The Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center serves as the region’s only dedicated business assistance center focused on minority owned businesses. We’ve completed the first two phases of the Northland Workforce Training Center, a massive mixed-use development under construction on Northland Avenue, which is training residents for high-paying manufacturing jobs, while transforming an entire neighborhood on the East Side of Buffalo.

We have made progress by investing in our community centers and cultural institutions, and by re-imagining our parks and open spaces. We’ve invested more than $77 million in parks and parks facilities since 2006, including courts, pools, rinks and splashpads, and we have built more than 100 miles of contiguous bicycle lanes. We will continue to ensure that Buffalo is a world-class City for arts, culture, parks and recreation.

We have made progress by earning the designation of a Climate Smart City. The Buffalo Sewer Authority has issued a $50 million green bond to support sewer and water facility upgrades to improve the quality of our water treatment systems and increase our capacity to build green infrastructure, and our award-winning Raincheck 2.0 program helps guide future City infrastructure investments that manages rainwater and takes on other challenges in a more sustainable manner. Our investment in replacing old lead lines has increased the availability of healthy, affordable housing that Buffalo will need to serve our growing population in the future.

We must keep the progress going.

Thank you for taking the time to visit my campaign website. It would be my honor to continue to serve as your Mayor in this next phase of recovery and revival, and I know that, together, we can build on our progress and continue to improve and strengthen every neighborhood in Buffalo.

I’m humbly asking you to WRITE DOWN BYRON BROWN for Mayor on your ballot – vote by absentee ballot, vote early starting October 23rd, or vote on Election Day on Tuesday, November 2nd.

Truly yours,

Mayor Byron Brown

I’m humbly asking you to WRITE DOWN BYRON BROWN for Mayor on the November 2nd ballot. When I was elected in 2005, I promised that I would work to revitalize our City, build a safer, smarter, stronger Buffalo and ensure that every community shares in our opportunity and our success. And we’ve made incredible progress. I’m running in the General Election because there is far too much at stake to stop now. We cannot afford to turn back Buffalo’s progress.[75]

—Byron Brown's campaign website (2021)[88]

Democratic Party India Walton

Campaign website

Walton's campaign website stated the following:

Our platform is centered on people and rooted in love, with the belief that equity and justice are essential.

We believe in love for community, respect for culture, and reverence of resources. We believe that housing, healthcare, healthy food, and a quality education are basic human rights; and when we invest in our community, we create the conditions where all residents feel valued and can thrive.

Buffalo is rich in resources. From our waterfront location to our wonderful arts and cultural community, it has many economic engines. We envision a Buffalo where people are housed, healthy, and have the agency to live to their full potential. As we have built our platform in a community with stakeholders, we invite everyone to send suggestions to

Getting Serious About Public Safety
2021 has been a devastating year for gun violence and homicide in Buffalo for as long as we can remember.

Year after year, the current administration invests in one policy response, to the exclusion of all others: heavier policing, more aggressive prosecutions, and harsher punishments. Clearly, this approach to public safety has been a catastrophic failure.

From her experience as a Registered Nurse, trailblazing community organizer, survivor of violence, and executive director of a democratically-run housing development corporation, India Walton is dedicated to a holistic approach to public safety.

In the old approach, the answer for every social ill is more policing. As a result, we ask our law enforcement officers to take time away from solving crimes to perform a whole host of other functions, for which they are not trained and should not be held responsible.

India’s approach is evidence-based, data-driven, and founded on proven practices in Buffalo and elsewhere. Our city already has promising models to point to, in Buffalo SNUG and BRAVE, and the University of Buffalo’s pioneering work of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design to draw from.

There are viable solutions for us to implement, if our vision is bold enough, and if we are politically courageous enough to finally get serious about public safety.

No. 1: Safe Neighborhoods
For too long, gun violence and other forms of violent crime have made Buffalonians afraid to walk the streets in our own neighborhoods. It’s time we addressed the root causes of violence before harm occurs, rather than simply punishing it after the fact.
Priorities in City Hall:
Life Camp
Erica Ford’s pathbreaking LIFE Camp model is a multi-faceted approach to interrupting violence. Violence Intervention and Prevention Specialists (VIPS), teams of credible messengers with histories of violence themselves, canvass neighborhoods daily, mediating conflicts, de-escalating gun violence, educating the community, and mentoring youth. Additionally, Life Camp provides therapeutic services, including yoga and art therapy, to help heal our communities’ abundant traumas.
Lastly, Life Camp provides wraparound services to those adjacent to violence, including financial literacy classes, technology learning labs, and more. New York City’s Crisis Management System (CMS), of which Life Camp was a founding member and key architect, accomplished a stunning 15 percent decline in shootings in the 17 highest violence precincts in New York City.
Mobile Crisis Teams
New York City’s Behavioral Health Emergency Assistance Response Division (B-HEARD) has achieved impressive results in its pilot program this summer. B-HEARD sends out mobile crisis teams staffed by therapists, social workers and other trained mental health professionals as a non-violent first responder corps for calls involving mental health crises, such as suicide attempts, substance misuse and serious mental illness.
In 95% of cases, people accepted care from the B-HEARD team, 13% higher than when the response team includes police, and only 50% of people treated by B-HEARD were transported to the hospital, a 32% reduction from police-involved 911 responses.

No. 2: Safe Schools

As a former school nurse, India knows firsthand the factors that increase the danger of violence in schools. There are perfectly viable solutions to address these factors without resorting to criminalizing our youth and funnelling them into a pipeline to prison
Priorities in City Hall:
Reduce Class Sizes
Overcrowded classes overwhelm already strained teachers and administrators, frustrate students who need individual attention, and dramatically increase the likelihood of classroom conflicts to boil over into violence. Only with adequately funded public schools and robust staffing support can we assure that students will develop sufficiently solid relationships with educators to solve violence.
Invest In Student Care
Every single student deserves ongoing and regular mental health and wellness checks from a guidance counselor, youth therapist or school nurse. If we invest in hiring those professionals, instead of school police, we will be able to provide much greater support to the students in the greatest danger of finding themselves in violent conflicts.
No. 2: Safe Housing
Our unhoused neighbors face terrible dangers of violence and illness. Their desperate circumstances increase the risk of property crimes and other public hazards. Abundant affordable housing is a vital pillar of any evidence-based public safety strategy, and as an accomplished housing development executive, India possesses the knowledge necessary to enact a successful housing program.
Priorities In City Hall:
Non-Violent Homeless Outreach
Asking the BPD to evict encampments and relocate our unhoused neighbors pulls them away from law enforcement and crime investigations, and increases the risk of violent interactions on the street. Instead, we need mental health professionals, community organizers, and other trained experts to help connect people to housing and services.
Democratic Real Estate Development
When we outsource the development of our city’s housing stock to private real estate moguls, the priority becomes developers’ profits, not the housing needs of our communities. We need to support community land trusts to enable communities to democratically direct their own development, and guarantee livable, decent housing to all residents, on a permanent basis.
No. 4: Safe Hospitals
As a former critical care nurse, India knows very well how dangerous hospitals can be. In high-stress life-or-death environments, tense situations can rapidly escalate, which is why nurses and hospital workers face some of the highest rates of workplace violence.
Priorities In City Hall:
Safe Staffing Ratios
When nurses are stretched to their limits by overwhelming patient loads, wait times grow longer and stress levels increase, giving rise to dangerous conditions for patients, their loved ones, and hospital staff. Only by working with organized labor and state legislators to guarante safe nurse-to-patient ratios can we ensure timely care and quality attention paid to our neighbors in need.
Medical Social Workers
Additionally, we must invest in trained medical social workers to defuse potentially explosive situations by connecting people to services and helping patients and their families navigate an all-too-complicated healthcare system.
No. 5: Safe Streets
Too many of our neighbors are injured or killed in traffic collisions and automotive accidents. As a proud member of the coalition that defeated the current administration’s disastrous school speed zone camera initiative, India is well versed in the traffic safety policy landscape.
Priorities In City Hall:
Infrastructure Improvements
Street design changes and infrastructure investments are proven to reduce incidents of traffic collisions much more effectively than routine traffic stops. Priority improvements include a citywide network of physically protected bike and bus lanes, widened and accessible sidewalks, speed bumps in problem areas, and narrowed roadways.
Steamline Investigations
Collision investigation responsibilities should be moved from the police department to the Department of Transportation, expanding its focus from merely determining criminality for individual crashes, to more broadly assessing factors underlying traffic risk. This would streamline the process of transforming the findings of traffic investigations into strategic recommendations for life-saving infrastructure improvements.
No. 6: Safety From Gender Violence And Sexual Assault
As a survivor of domestic abuse, India has an all-too-intimate understanding of the resources and systems needed to address sexual and intimate partner violence.
Priorities In City Hall:
Support Survivors
Survivors of domestic or sexual violence, too often reliant on their abusors for economic footing, need community-based supports to find safety. We should be investing in trauma-informed mental and physical healthcare, housing services, childcare, and the other pillars of a life independent of a violent partner
Restorative Justice
In order to move those who have harmed others along a path to accountability, amends, growth, and healing, and protect potential future survivors, we must invest in non-carceral community-based support services and restorative justice programs.

Building A Healthy Community
We need to address the social detriments of health.

One Tuesday, back when I was serving as a nurse in the Buffalo Public School system, a group of sisters who had contracted head lice came to see me. I called their mother and told her she had to pick them up from school, but assured her that, if she gave them a good shampooing, I’d check their scalps the next day, and clear them to return to the classroom. She told me that they would have to stay out until the following Monday, because her paycheck wouldn’t come until Friday.

These girls were bright students, and they were going to have to miss three days of school, because their mother couldn’t afford a five-dollar bottle of shampoo. Right then, it hit me: to truly maximize my impact on the health of my neighbors, I had to turn my focus from individual patients to society at large.

The fact is, a lot of children came to see me not because they were physically ill, but because they bore the symptoms of a society plagued by concentrated poverty, structural racism, and endemic community violence.

Public health researchers refer to these as “social determinants of health.” I’ve heard it said that a person’s health outcomes have more to do with their zip code than their genetic code. We need massive changes to our healthcare system, but no matter how good we make it, it will only provide harm reduction, if our society keeps making us sick in the first place.

We need to address the “social determinants of health.”

No. 1: Green Job Creation Is Healthcare
Buffalo continues to be one of the poorest American cities of its size. Poverty means processed foods, low-quality healthcare services, and living in the vicinity of mold, lead, and other pollutants that make us sick. A healthy Buffalo will require the creation of good paying green jobs by fostering worker-owned small businesses that keep the money right here in Buffalo.
By investing in a low-carbon, good-job economy with thriving worker-owned businesses, we can transform Buffalo from one of the poorest cities in the country to a model of economic growth. This in turn will reduce the number one factor leading to illness, building a healthy Buffalo for future generations.
Out-Of-Town Corporations
  • Wealthy, remote CEOs overwork and underpay workers in order to increase profits to shareholders.
  • Have no trouble polluting the communities where production occurs, since the owners live far away.
  • Can generate profits by relocating production centers to regions with lower wages and fewer labor and environmental protections.
Local Co-Ops
  • Worker-owners decide together how the business is run and what happens with the profits.
  • Protect the community from pollution, since the owners are the very workers who live nearby.
  • Keep jobs in the neighborhood, becoming anchor institutions in the community, never leaving workers high and dry.
No. 2: Housing Is Healthcare
A dependable, comfortable home is a pillar of a dignified life and a healthy body. Those who live on the streets, in shelters, or under the stress of bouncing from couch to couch are at much greater risk for violence, disease, and illness-producing stress.
My administration will be an energetic partner in cultivating a citywide federation of Community Land Trusts like the one for which I was the founding Executive Director. We will devote much of the city’s significant holdings in vacant lands to this model of neighborhood self-development.
Housing For Profit
  • Billionaires capture public subsidies to develop luxury housing that leaves behind low-income communities.
  • Homelessness, savings-depleting rent hikes, and gentrification that prices people of color out of longstanding communities.
  • City Hall becomes captured by the interests of real estate interests, and prioritizes their profits.
  • City Hall pushes the city to the brink of bankruptcy shelling out windfall tax breaks to wealthy and well-connected developers.
  • Temporary housing, the threat of eviction and homelessness, neighborhoods that lack networks of long-lasting relationships.
Community Land Trust Federation
  • Communities democratically develop themselves, so as to meet their own needs and cultivate their own neighborhoods.
  • Land taken off the market, insulating residents from the threat of forced displacement.
  • City Hall remains accountable to everyday residents and families, and prioritizes our quality of life.
  • City Hall guarantees truly affordable housing, on a permanent basis, to working class Buffalonians.
  • Permanently affordable housing, freedom from fear, the conditions necessary to grow deep community ties.
No. 3: Education Is Healthcare
Oftentimes, schools are the only refuge students have from violence and poverty, the only place they are reliably fed, and the only environment where they have adult mentors with the resources and wherewithal to provide attention and guidance. We must fully fund high quality, trauma-informed, culturally- and linguistically-responsive public education, both universal pre-k and K-12.
My administration will establish a dedicated line of funding to Buffalo Public Schools, separate from the general fund, to enable them to begin to make necessary investments. We will establish partnerships between BPS and community organizations, which will include paid internships for students. And we will improve communication and transparency between the City and the Board of Education.
Corporate Education
  • Children reduced to scores on standardized tests, trained to be obedient, and denied world-class arts, emotional, social, and sexual education.
  • Students policed, surveilled, and funnelled into a pipeline to prison.
  • Teachers blamed for all negative educational outcomes and held to unreasonable standards of student success.
  • Students without broadband internet are left at a disadvantage relative to more affluent peers.
"Whole Child" Education
  • Student’s intellectual health, mental health, emotional health, sexual health, and ability to form and cultivate healthy relationships all prioritized.
  • Investments made in school nurses, youth therapists, and guidance counselors.
  • Poverty, racism, and violence acknowledged as social determinants of educational outcomes.
  • Universal broadband ensures all students have equitable access to educational opportunities.
No. 4: Climate Justice Is Healthcare
As long as we breathe dirty air, drink contaminated water, and eat food from poisoned soil, we will continue to be a city plagued by illness. The amount of lead flowing through the blood of our babies is an utter disgrace, and a profound stain on the current administration. Needless to say, the impact of lead poisoning has been disparate by race, class, and neighborhood, with the most marginalized, impoverished, and historically oppressed communities suffering the worst.
For the health of our children, families, and communities, it is imperative that we invest in environmental protection and energy conservation.
Priorities In City Hall:
  • We will vigorously pursue all resources available at the municipal, county, state and federal levels to remediate the lead poisoning that has plagued our city for too long.
  • We will create and energetically implement a robust “Re-Tree” initiative in East Buffalo.
  • We will convert City of Buffalo fleets to electric cars.
  • We will establish a sustainable workforce roundtable to inform new, green workforce initiatives.
  • We will convene city officials and community leaders to produce Buffalo’s first comprehensive Climate Action Plan.
  • We will establish an office of sustainability to monitor efforts to reduce emissions and facilitate a plan to move to renewable energy.
  • We will develop an improved stormwater management plan.
No. 5: Police Accountability Is Healthcare
For Black Buffalonians like me, a given interaction with a police officer is as likely to be terrifying as comforting: The experience of utter powerlessness in the face of an armed agent who can act with impunity is traumatic. That pervasive fear compounds our collective anger at injustice to create toxic stress.
This is terrible for the mental health and physical well-being of especially Black Buffalonians. Healthy neighborhoods free from fear, violence, and anger at injustice require accountability for bad actors in law enforcement.
Priorities In City Hall:
  • We will vigorously pursue all resources available at the Work with the Buffalo Common Council to amend the city charter to establish an independent oversight body with investigatory and subpoena power.
  • Make police data public to the extent allowed by law including data on racial disparities in stops and arrests, officer disciplinary records, the number of officers who live outside the city, and an inventory of weapons and military equipment owned by BPD.
  • Order the Law Department to conduct a full review of the city's ability to discipline and fire bad police officers, and to defend disciplinary decisions to the fullest possible extent. determinants of educational outcomes.
  • Create a task force to investigate every police officer and fire or demote officers with consistently bad records.
  • Mandate unpaid leave for police officers being investigated for police brutality.
  • Codify public participation in union contract negotiations to the extent allowed by law and ensure meaningful ongoing public input into all police department functions and union contract negotiations and cement this public right into the future by law.
  • Provide resources for law enforcement suicide prevention and access to mental health services for officers.

Public Safety
India will bring accountability, transparency, and community-centered service to the Buffalo Police Department (BPD). She will prioritize addressing the root causes of crime such as concentrated poverty and lack of living-wage jobs; emphasizing harm reduction and restorative justice programs rather than punitive measures.

Download India’s Policy Agenda on Public Safety

Short-Term Policy Goals (First 100 Days):
  • Remove police from responding to most mental health calls and work with County and BPD leaders to establish a new response to crisis mental health calls that utilize mental health professionals.
  • End enforcement of low-level drug possession by directing police not to arrest people for simple possession of a small number of drugs and paraphernalia like syringes.
  • Order the Law Department to conduct a full review of the city's ability to discipline and fire bad police officers, and to defend disciplinary decisions to the fullest possible extent.
  • Make police data public to the extent allowed by law including data on racial disparities in stops and arrests, officer disciplinary records, the number of officers who live outside the city, and an inventory of weapons and military equipment owned by BPD.
Near-Term Policy Goals (6 Months to 1 Year):
  • Work with the Buffalo Common Council to amend the city charter to establish an independent oversight body with investigatory and subpoena power.
  • Train officers in trauma-informed care and implicit bias.
  • Increase the number of trained community-oriented officers.
  • Mandate unpaid leave for police officers being investigated for police brutality.
  • Establish a civilian Traffic Safety Division to enforce routine traffic safety laws and remove police from routine traffic enforcement.
  • Create a task force to investigate every police officer and fire or demote officers with consistently bad records.
Long-Term Policy Goals (1 to 4 Years):
  • Create unarmed public safety detail to address quality of life and social calls to 911, freeing trained police officers to focus on solving crime.
  • Fund and expand proven public safety programs such as Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) and violence interruption programs like Advance Peace.
  • Invest in crime prevention strategies such as youth employment programs like Mayor’s Summer Youth, and crime prevention through environmental design.
  • Codify public participation in union contract negotiations to the extent allowed by law and ensure meaningful ongoing public input into all police department functions and union contract negotiations and cement this public right into the future by law.

Housing is a human right. As mayor, India will use her experience creating permanently affordable housing to address the longstanding affordable housing crisis in Buffalo. She will work to ensure that all Buffalonians can live in safe and healthy neighborhoods while ensuring a just and equitable recovery from the pandemic.

Short-Term Policy Goals (First 100 Days):

  • Sign the Tenant’s Bill of Rights to strengthen local protections for renters.
  • The 2019 NYS Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act allows municipalities to opt in to rent stabilization. Completing a vacancy study is the first step a municipality must take to be eligible for rent stabilization. Rochester has already begun working on its vacancy study.
  • Provide financial relief to small landlords in exchange for rent forgiveness for tenants.
  • Direct the city’s Department of Permit and Inspection Services to put an emergency stay on the demolition of historically designated buildings such as the Willert Park/A.D. Price courts.
  • Landlord registration:
  • Create and publicize a user-friendly online portal where tenants can type in a property address to get landlord information, including the history of property violations.
  • Require LLCs to disclose contact information and addresses of interested parties.
  • Increase regulations and requirements for property maintenance agencies.
Near-Term Policy Goals (6 Months to 1 Year):
  • Implement a comprehensive land-use policy that sets aside 50% of city-owned vacant parcels for the public good.
  • Allow for longer grace periods to cure past-due taxes and user fees prior to foreclosure actions.
  • Create a pot of funds to assist homeowners who have fallen behind on their property taxes due to an unexpected hardship (job loss, medical bills, etc.). This could provide one-time payments to assist homeowners in getting back on track to pay their taxes, which would save many from unnecessary and devastating foreclosure.
  • Give communities control to democratically regulate themselves through establishing ground-up neighborhood planning efforts. Work with block clubs and existing community organizations to create Just Neighborhood Plans that empower residents to take control of the regulation of their own neighborhoods (by forming neighborhood committees) including the power to approve or deny planning & zoning.
Long-Term Policy Goals (1 to 4 Years):
  • Support the creation and capacity of a city-wide land trust federation with democratic decision-making at the neighborhood level.
  • Repair and redress the harm done to public housing, and allow for greater resident control of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority.
  • Implement Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) upon enactment by the NYS legislature. This means that when a property goes up for sale, existing tenants will have the first option to purchase the property. TOPA programs provide funding and technical assistance for tenants to do this. If a tenant does not want the ability to purchase, they can assign their right to purchase the property to a local non-profit housing agency, which will then manage the property. TOPA is a powerful anti-displacement and wealth generation tool.

As mayor, India will represent all residents of the City of Buffalo and give voice to individuals whether they have resided here for a lifetime or have newly arrived in our city. She will allocate resources to improve accessibility to city services, increase legal aid for immigrants, and end all forms of local police collaboration with immigration enforcement.

Short-Term Policy Goals (First 100 Days):
  • Declare Buffalo a sanctuary city, which means that city employees will NOT use city resources to:
  • Assist or cooperate with any ICE investigation, detention, or arrest relating to alleged violations of the civil provisions of federal immigration law.
  • Ask about immigration status on any application for city benefits, services, or opportunities, except as required by federal or state statute, regulation, or court decision.
  • Limit city services or benefits based on immigration status, unless required by federal or state statute or regulation, public assistance criteria, or court decision.
  • Provide information about the release status or personal information of any individual, except in limited circumstances when law enforcement may respond to ICE requests for notification about when an individual will be released from custody.
  • Detain an individual on the basis of a civil immigration detainer after that individual becomes eligible for release from custody.
  • End BPD cooperation with ICE. As mayor, India will be transparent with immigrant communities by enacting written legislation/policy that bars information sharing between local law enforcement (BPD) and ICE and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officials.
  • Ensure that all city agencies work for the needs of all residents, regardless of their immigration status. City agencies will maintain open dialogue and ongoing outreach with the communities they serve.
Near-Term Policy Goals (6 Months to 1 Year):
  • Dedicate funding for legal services that offer options to grant fee waivers for adjustment of status fees, work permit fees, citizenship fees, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) fees.
  • Improve outreach and accessibility for the Office of New Americans, which should act as a liaison offering funding opportunities for all organizations providing direct services, community education, and advocacy to immigrant communities.
  • Improve accessibility to city agency services through improved/expanded language access. All residents should be aware of and be able to access the resources and services available to them in the language they prefer to speak in.
Long-Term Policy Goals (1 to 4 Years):
  • Actively recruit multilingual officers to serve communities and increase trust between new residents and police.
  • Increase civic participation by all residents through the establishment and facilitation of neighborhood caucuses that encourage democratic participation regardless of voting/immigration status.

Pandemic Recovery
India will advance a just recovery from the pandemic, putting peoples' health and well-being first by strengthening social safety nets, supporting essential workers and training new workers for the just transition to an inclusive economy; and improving public spaces and reclaiming streets to ensure liveable local communities for all.

Short-Term Policy Goals (First 100 Days):

  • Establish clear lines of communication between City Hall staff and the community.
  • Work with experts to create a publicly available crisis response plan that ensures our most vulnerable community members are supported during all phases of recovery.
Near-Term Policy Goals (6 Months to 1 Year):
  • Reduce barriers to assistance for tenants, landlords, homeowners, and small businesses; especially in communities underserved by traditional financial institutions.
Long-Term Policy Goals (1 to 4 Years):
  • Work with existing community centers and organizations so resources and mutual aid can be democratically governed and deployed efficiently and at the neighborhood level.

The Arts
As Mayor of Buffalo, India will commit to invest in frontline arts organizations with consistent annual funding. She will ensure funding is distributed equitably and that currently underserved communities are given access.

Short-Term Policy Goals (First 100 Days):
  • Establish a more transparent and democratic model in which more arts organizations and artists can be engaged in the city’s public art initiatives.
  • Commit to commissioning local and underrepresented artists and art forms for city contracts.
Near-Term Policy Goals (6 Months to 1 Year):
  • Invest in front-line arts organizations with consistent dedicated funding.
  • Create arts programming to reach immigrant, differently-abled, and low-income members of our community.
  • Create/identify non-permitting areas of the city dedicated to public art. These are “free zones” where Buffalo city residents can gather to perform, create, and experience art without the need for a permit.
  • Advocate for more union jobs in Buffalo's growing film industry and seek more state support for projects both big and small
  • Incorporate more educational opportunities to public school students and local college graduates to get more involved in the local film industry
Long-Term Policy Goals (1 to 4 Years):
  • Establish Buffalo as an international destination for arts and culture.
  • Treat the arts as the economic driver it is and ensure that city infrastructure, policy and budget allocations reflect that.

Buffalo has been designated a climate refuge city—we need to prepare for that future while prioritizing our people and habitat in the present. As mayor, India will hold polluters accountable, preserve and protect our waterways, and promote energy conservation programs.

Short-Term Policy Goals (First 100 Days):
  • India will implement and support the goals of the NYS Climate Leadership and Protection Investments Act.
  • Convene city officials and community leaders to produce Buffalo’s first comprehensive Climate Action Plan.
  • Establish a sustainable workforce roundtable to inform new, green workforce initiatives.
Near-Term Policy Goals (6 Months to 1 Year):
  • Improved stormwater management plan.
  • Establish an office of sustainability to monitor efforts to reduce emissions and facilitate a plan to move to renewable energy.
  • Engage in regional climate initiatives to work with other municipalities to advance our climate goals.
Long-Term Policy Goals (1 to 4 Years):
  • Convert City of Buffalo fleets to electric cars.
  • Update the green code to provide for aspects of zoning that make strong, resilient, climate-safe communities.
  • Create and implement a “Re-Tree” initiative in East Buffalo.

Economic Development
India will ensure that resources are invested in both the basic needs of our most vulnerable residents and the tools that create a vibrant and sustainable local economy. She will focus on cooperatively-owned businesses, green jobs, and democratic control of land instead of trickle-down policies and subsidies that have increased income inequality.

Short-Term Policy Goals (First 100 Days):
  • Commit to full Minority/Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) compliance for city-funded projects.
  • Prioritize small and minority-owned local businesses through the RFP process to increase successful bids for small, local contractors.
Near-Term Policy Goals (6 Months to 1 Year):
  • Add new procurement criteria and set measurable benchmarks to grant more contracts to locally-owned, independent businesses, minority, and women-owned businesses, and to buy more environmentally sustainable goods and services.
  • Make appointments based on expertise, diversity, and inclusion, rather than political patronage.
Long-Term Policy Goals (1 to 4 Years):
  • Work to establish a public bank. India will advocate for this at the state level, and ensure it is a priority to invest our city dollars in a public bank that invests in our community— not in fossil fuels or carceral institutions to make profits.
  • Establish a comprehensive and transparent participatory budgeting process.

India will be a strong and involved partner with the Board of Education and Buffalo Public Schools. As mayor, she will work to build a coalition of education advocates with representatives from the Board of Education, Buffalo Teachers Federation, the Common Council, and the greater Buffalo community to stress the importance of education in our city. True progressive leadership takes a stand on important issues, and Buffalo deserves clear, concise, and timely information from the mayor’s office in regards to educational issues and our children’s health and well-being.

Short-Term Policy Goals (First 100 Days):
  • Appoint a staff person to attend BoE meetings and maintain an open line of communication with Board members, administrators, and staff.
  • Support the whole-child, whole-school, whole-community agenda of trauma-informed and culturally and linguistically responsive teaching.
  • Advocate for locally sourced and culturally appropriate meal options for all students.
Near-Term Policy Goals (6 Months to 1 Year):
  • Create a dedicated budget line for BPS separate and apart from the general fund.
Long-Term Policy Goals (1 to 4 Years):
  • Partner with local companies, nonprofits, colleges and universities, and city departments to create paid internships for students. Paid employment opportunities promote college and career readiness, improve family health and safety, and help students build confidence alongside their résumés.

Food Access
India will support community-based initiatives to increase access to fresh and healthy food, including neighborhood-owned grocery stores, community gardens, and open-air markets.

Short-Term Policy Goals (First 100 Days):
  • Work with the Common Council to amend food-store licensing requirements to include fresh produce.
  • Pre-identify lots appropriate for community gardens, and ensure access to water.
  • Prohibit discrimination of breastfeeding mothers in the workplace and in public places where a mother and child would otherwise be present.
Near-Term Policy Goals (6 Months to 1 Year):
  • Support community-based initiatives to increase access to fresh and healthy food, including neighborhood-owned grocery stores, community gardens, and farmers’ markets.
Long-Term Policy Goals (1 to 4 Years):
  • Ensure access to healthy, culturally appropriate, and affordable food for all residents regardless of income, and promote personal wellness.
  • Reduce the disparities in health outcomes by allocating resources to deploy community health workers in target zip codes.
  • Provide a tax credit against the city's personal property tax imposed on qualified supermarkets within defined “food-desert incentive areas.”

As mayor, India will improve the state of our streets by using capital improvement funding for Complete Streets designs, such as more crosswalks, wider sidewalks, and traffic calming practices that increase accessibility and safety, and reduce reliance on enforcement.

Short-Term Policy Goals (First 100 Days):
  • Halt the school-zone camera program.
  • Pilot a Municipal Sidewalk Snow Removal Program targeting shared walkways in high-pedestrian traffic areas.
  • Implement Snow and Ice Clearing Assistance Programs employing neighborhood youth servicing seniors and homeowners unable to clear snow.
  • Target infrastructure investments to create safe streets, calming traffic, and increasing accessibility for people of all ages and abilities.
Near-Term Policy Goals (6 Months to 1 Year):
  • Reduce the speed limit on residential streets to 25mph citywide.
  • Create a municipal broadband network to expand access to affordable high-speed internet across the city, particularly in underserved neighborhoods.
  • Commit more funding for the maintenance of sidewalks, roads, signs, streetlights, and street furniture.
  • Color bike lanes, crosswalks, and school zones to slow traffic and alert drivers to changes in speed limits and traffic patterns.
Long-Term Policy Goals (1 to 4 Years):
  • Bring municipal snow removal to scale.[75]
—India Walton's campaign website (2021)[89]

Independent Ben Carlisle (write-in)

Campaign website

Carlisle's campaign website stated the following:

Prevent Socialism From Taking Root In Buffalo
Buffalo is on the verge of becoming the first American city in over 60 years to elect a socialist. Socialism has failed every time it has been implemented. Cuba is the most recent and obvious example. I’m entering this race to provide voters with a choice other than socialism or the status quo.

Make Buffalo Schools A Model For The Nation By Bringing Together Buffalo's Chefs, Restaurants, And Farmers To Develop Nutritious Meals For Our Children
Both of my parents were in education before they retired. My dad was a school principal and my mom was an English teacher. My parents instilled in me the value of a good education from an early age. While I understand that we can’t fix Buffalo’s schools overnight, one thing we can do immediately is make sure every Buffalo student has access to good healthy food. I’ll work with local chefs, restaurants, and farms to get a sustainable program off the ground my first year in office.

Implement A Two-Term Limit For Every Elected Office In Buffalo, Including Mayor
Byron Brown is the poster child for why term limits are so desperately needed. When a politician stays in office too long, complacency and arrogance set in. If the common council fails to address the issue of term limits, I will commit to serving no more than two terms.

Community Engagement
I will meet monthly with Block Club presidents. The purpose of the meetings will be to listen to the concerns of citizens from all over the city, and to inform residents about new initiatives and services. By the end of my first term in office I will be on a first name basis with every Block Club president. My staff will also work with the community to set up new Block Clubs all over the city.

Maintain Funding For Law Enforcement
Ironically, the only area of funding that India Walton wants to cut is the one area that needs its funding preserved: law enforcement. The increase in crime under Brown’s neglect is unacceptable, and India Walton’s plan to defund the police is more than idiotic, it’s downright dangerous. I will help foster a better relationship between police officers and the community they serve. Community policing is vital to the safety of a neighborhood. As Mayor, there is no obligation I will take more seriously than keeping our streets safe.

While I support adequate funding for police, it does not mean a blind eye should be turned when an officer commits a criminal act. I attended the first BLM protest in downtown Buffalo in May 2020. After the sun went down, the police were ordered to clear Niagara Square. I joined in solidarity with other peaceful protesters and refused to yield my First Amendment rights. When ordered to leave, I sat on the ground. When ordered to stand up, I lied down. Peaceful civil disobedience prevailed that evening. Unfortunately, instead of adopting the model of peaceful civil disobedience that Gandhi, MLK, and John Lewis pioneered, Black Lives Matter and ANTIFA spread horrific violence all over our county last summer, and the Democrats egged them on. It’s one of the main reasons I no longer identify as a Democrat.

Make City Hall Work for Everyone, Not Just The Connected
When I’m Mayor, no one will be cutting the line to get cooperation from City Hall. And I’ll work to simplify the building code to spark new development. Everyone knows what it takes to get a project developed under Byron Brown’s corrupt regime, but what India Walton is proposing makes Brown’s cronyism almost seem appealing. When I’m mayor, all citizens and all developers will be treated equally.

End Party Politics In Buffalo
I’m not running as a Democrat or a Republican, just a concerned but hopeful Buffalonian. When I get to City Hall, I will work with everyone, regardless of party affiliation. No party has a monopoly on good ideas. I’m not looking to reach across the aisle, I want to remove the aisle altogether.

More Tree And Less Telephone Poles
My administration will set a goal to have all utilities buried underground by the end of my first term. This will reduce power outages during bad winter storms, and it will end the need to constantly cut limbs off of trees to accommodate ever spreading power, telephone, and cable lines. For every telephone pole that comes down a new tree will be planted in its place.[75]

—Benjamin Carlisle's campaign website (2021)[90]

Noteworthy events

Board of Elections certifies ballots without Brown's name

Following September 16 rulings in state and federal appellate courts, the Erie County Board of Elections said it would print and begin sending overseas absentee/mail-in ballots on September 17 without Brown's name on the ballot.[91][78] Brown had earlier tried to have his name placed on the ballot as a member of the "Buffalo Party." His initial attempt to submit signatures was denied by the Board of Elections, after which point two lawsuits were filed as described below. Both lawsuits ultimately lost in appeals.


In August 2021, Brown submitted petitions to the Erie County Board of Elections to appear on the general election ballot as an independent candidate on the "Buffalo Party" line.[92] New York is one of three states where candidates who lost in one party's nominating contest can appear on the general election ballot as another party's nominee.

In 2021, the deadline to submit petitions to appear on the November ballot was May 25, twenty-three weeks before the general election.[92] In previous years, the deadline was eleven weeks before the general election, but the New York State Legislature changed the date in 2019.[93]

According to WKBW's Anthony Reyes, Brown's campaign "argued ... that the legislature's date was set too early — denying the candidate his or her constitutional right and denying voters enough time to decide."[86]

On August 27, 2021, the Erie County Board of Elections denied Brown's petition to appear on the general election ballot because he did not meet the May 25 deadline. Ralph Mohr, the Republican Election Commissioner, said, "If anyone could file any set of documents whenever they want to it would create chaos."[86]

State court

Brown filed a lawsuit against the Board of Elections on August 28, 2021, before Judge Paul B. Wojtaszek in the Erie County Supreme Court. He argued that the May 25 deadline was unconstitutional because it allegedly violated his equal protection rights by taking place before the primary election.[85] On September 3, Judge Wojtaszek ruled in favor of Brown and granted the order to place his name on the ballot under the Buffalo Party.[83] Walton appealed the decision to the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, before Justice Nancy Smith. On September 8, Justice Smith stayed Wojtaszek's order pending further review.[81] On September 16, the appellate court ruled against Brown, saying "States are constitutionally permitted to preclude candidates who lose one primary election from subsequently running on another ballot line."[78]

Federal court

Three supporters of Brown filed a separate lawsuit in federal court before Judge John Sinatra of the United States District Court for the Western District of New York on August 30, 2021.[84] In it, the plaintiffs alleged "that New York's early deadline, as applied to the would-be candidate violated their rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States."[84] On September 3, 2021, Judge Sinatra ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and ordered a preliminary injunction requiring the Board of Elections to place Brown's name on the ballot under the Buffalo Party.[82] Both Walton and the Erie County Board of Elections said they would appeal the ruling.[94] On September 15, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a stay, pausing Judge Sinatra's order. On September 16, a panel of three circuit court judges—Debra Livingston, Denny Chin, and William Nardini—ultimately invalidated Sinatra's ruling.[79][78]

June 22 Democratic primary and aftermath

India Walton (D) defeated incumbent Byron Brown (D) and Le'Candice Durham (D) in the Democratic primary on June 22, 2021. Walton received 51% of the vote in the June 22 primary followed by Brown and Durham (D) with 46% and 3% of the vote, respectively.[95][7][96] Brown was first elected mayor of Buffalo in 2005 and won re-election three times. Before his primary defeat in 2021, Brown had won the four preceding Democratic mayoral primaries by an average margin of 26.5 percentage points.[97]

The New York Times' Luis Ferré-Sadurní described Walton's primary victory 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."[7]

Walton, a nurse and community activist, received endorsements from Our Revolution and the local and national branches of the Democratic Socialists of America in the Democratic primary.[14] 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.[98] Brown received endorsements from the Erie County Democratic Committee and multiple local and regional labor unions including the Buffalo Central Labor Council in the Democratic primary.[99][100][101]

Immediately following the primary election, it appeared that Walton would be the only candidate on the general election ballot. No Republicans filed to run for mayor and the third-party filing deadline had passed. Click here to learn more about legal developments regarding ballot access following the primary.


Following his primary defeat, Brown announced he would run in the general election as a write-in candidate.[102] At a June 28 press conference, he said, "I have literally heard from thousands of residents of Buffalo, who have said to me, that they want me to continue my campaign for re-election as mayor of the City of Buffalo as a write-in candidate."[9]

In response, Walton said, "We urge Brown to accept the will of the voters, end this futile campaign, and help us work towards a seamless transition."[9] Jeremy Zellner, chairman of the Erie County Democratic Party which endorsed Brown in the primary, said his organization would support Walton's candidacy in the general election, saying, "[T]he Democratic Party listens to the will of Democratic voters, and today India Walton is our candidate for mayor of the city of Buffalo."[9] The Erie County Democratic Party officially endorsed Walton on August 26, 2021.[16]

Click here to learn more about developments regarding Brown's general election candidacy.

Click [show] on the dropdown menus below to view details from the June 22 Democratic primary.

Mayoral partisanship

Buffalo has a Democratic mayor. As of November 2021, 63 mayors in the largest 100 cities by population are affiliated with the Democratic Party, 26 are affiliated with the Republican Party, four are independents, six identify as nonpartisan or unaffiliated, and one mayor's affiliation is unknown. While most mayoral elections in the 100 largest cities are nonpartisan, most officeholders are affiliated with a political party. Click here for a list of the 100 largest cities' mayors and their partisan affiliations.

What was at stake?

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About the city

See also: Buffalo, New York

Buffalo is a city in Erie County, New York. As of 2013, its population was 258,959.[115]

City government

See also: Mayor-council government

The city of Buffalo uses a strong mayor and city council system. In this form of municipal government, the city council serves as the city's primary legislative body while the mayor serves as the city's chief executive.[116]


The following table displays demographic data provided by the United States Census Bureau.

Demographic data for Buffalo, New York (2015)
 BuffaloNew York
Total population:259,51719,747,183
Land area (square miles):4047,126
Race and ethnicity[117]
Black/African American:37.3%15.6%
Native American:0.4%0.4%
Pacific Islander:0%0%
Two or more:3.8%2.9%
High school graduation rate:82.7%85.6%
College graduation rate:24.6%34.2%
Median household income:$31,918$59,269
Persons below poverty level:31.4%18.5%
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, "American Community Survey" (5-year estimates 2010-2015)

See also

Buffalo, New York New York Municipal government Other local coverage
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External links


  1. This is the in-person and online voter registration deadline. If registering by mail, the registration must be postmarked on Oct. 8 and received by a board of elections no later than Oct. 13.
  2. 2.0 2.1 New York State Board of Elections, "Voter Registration Deadlines," accessed Sept. 14, 2021
  3. New York State Board of Elections, "Absentee Voting," accessed Sept. 14, 2021
  4. Military voter ballots must be received no later than Nov. 16.
  5. However, if a voter does not provide valid identification at the time of registration, he or she must show identification at the polling place when voting for the first time.
  6. Erie County Board of Elections, "Official 2021 Primary Canvass Books," accessed July 23, 2021
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 The New York Times, "India Walton stuns longtime incumbent in Buffalo mayoral primary." June 23, 2021
  8. The Buffalo News, "2021 primary election results: Buffalo mayor and Erie County sheriff," accessed June 23, 2021
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 WGRZ, "Mayor Byron Brown: 'I will be a candidate for mayor, as a write-in for the November General Election,'" June 28, 2021
  10. Our Campaigns, "Brown, Byron W.," accessed June 23, 2021
  11. The New York Times, "India Walton Beat the Buffalo Mayor in a Primary. He Won’t Give Up." Sept. 27, 2021
  12. Jacobin, "India Walton: Byron Brown Is a “Sore Loser” Whose Pro-Corporate Policies Have Failed Buffalo," Sept. 8, 2021
  13. The Buffalo News, "Working Families' nod to Walton sets primary, general election challenge to Brown," Feb. 24, 2021
  14. 14.00 14.01 14.02 14.03 14.04 14.05 14.06 14.07 14.08 14.09 14.10 14.11 14.12 14.13 14.14 14.15 14.16 India Walton's 2021 campaign website, "Endorsements," accessed June 23, 2021
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Twitter, "Chuck Schumer," Oct. 21, 2021
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  17. WGRZ, "Mayor Byron Brown: 'I will be a candidate for mayor, as a write-in for the November General Election,'" June 28, 2021
  18. WGRZ, "Walton, Brown share visions for the city during Buffalo mayoral debate," Sept. 9, 2021
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Facebook, "Byron W. Brown," Oct. 9, 2021
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 WKBW, "Support for Mayor Brown’s write-in," June 29, 2021
  21. 21.0 21.1 Scribd, "Brown for Buffalo Announces Supporters of Write-In Campaign," June 29, 2021
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 The Buffalo News, "The Editorial Board: Re-elect Brown, who knows how to govern, unlike the dangerously inexperienced Walton," Oct. 23, 2021
  23. KPVI, "Hochul marches in Buffalo Labor Day Parade," Sept. 6, 2021
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 Spectrum News 1, "Police benevolent associations endorse Mayor Brown for re-election," Oct. 12, 2021
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 InvestigativePost, "State realtors spend big money on Brown campaign," Oct. 13, 2021
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Twitter, "Daniel Marans," Oct. 22, 2021
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Twitter, "Ryan Grim," Oct. 19, 2021
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  29. In battleground primaries, Ballotpedia based its selection of noteworthy candidates on polling, fundraising, and noteworthy endorsements. In battleground general elections, all major party candidates and any other candidates with the potential to impact the outcome of the race were included.
  30. A cell marked "-" means the candidate was not listed in the poll.
  31. 31.0 31.1 WIVB, "Frequency Table," accessed Oct. 28, 2021
  32. 32.0 32.1 WIVB, "EXCLUSIVE: Byron Brown expands lead on India Walton in latest Buffalo mayoral poll," Oct. 26, 2021
  33. Someone else: 4%
    Undecided: 6%
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 Emerson College Polling, "Buffalo, NY: Incumbent Mayor Brown Leads Mayoral Race with Write-In Campaign," accessed Sept. 15, 2021
  35. Unsure: 8%
    Someone else: 2%
  36. 36.0 36.1 Facebook, "Buffalo Bangla," Sept. 10, 2021
  37. 37.0 37.1 Panorama Hispano News, "Mayor Byron Brown Gets Panorama Hispano News Endorsement," Sept. 15,2021
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  39. 39.0 39.1 Twitter, "Ryan Nobles," Oct. 11, 2021
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  41. 41.0 41.1 The Buffalo News, "Ocasio-Cortez to stump for Walton in Buffalo; Hochul remains on sidelines," Oct. 20, 2021
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  43. 43.00 43.01 43.02 43.03 43.04 43.05 43.06 43.07 43.08 43.09 43.10 43.11 43.12 43.13 43.14 43.15 43.16 43.17 43.18 India Walton's campaign website, "Endorsements," archived Sept. 16, 2021
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  45. 45.0 45.1 Facebook, "Byron W. Brown," Oct. 9, 2021
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  47. Facebook, "India Walton For Buffalo," June 20, 2021
  48. Facebook, "India Walton for Buffalo," May 29, 2021
  49. 49.0 49.1 Buffalow News, "Another Voice: India Walton is needed to put a stop to City Hall cronyism," Oct. 6, 2021
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 WIVB, "Two major labor unions endorse Byron Brown for Mayor of Buffalo," Sept. 6, 2021
  51. 51.0 51.1 Facebook, "Byron W. Brown," Oct. 7, 2021
  52. 52.0 52.1 Facebook, "Byron W. Brown," Oct. 16, 2021
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  55. The local Buffalo DSA branch also endorsed Walton.
  56. 56.0 56.1 Challenger Community News, "India Walton Welcomes Endorsement from EMILY’s List," Aug. 15, 2021
  57. 57.0 57.1 WGRZ, "Walton wins Erie County Democrats' endorsement in Buffalo mayoral race," Aug. 26, 2021
  58. The Erie County Democratic Committee endorsed Brown in the Democratic primary.
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  60. 60.0 60.1 Facebook, "Byron W. Brown," Oct. 21, 2021
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  63. 63.0 63.1 63.2 Facebook, "Byron W. Brown," Oct. 13, 2021
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  65. 65.0 65.1 Facebook, "India Walton For Buffalo," Oct. 19, 2021
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  71., "Outside Spending," accessed September 22, 2015
  72., "Total Outside Spending by Election Cycle, All Groups," accessed September 22, 2015
  73. National, "Why the Media Hate Super PACs," November 6, 2015
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  75. 75.0 75.1 75.2 75.3 75.4 75.5 75.6 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributable to the original source.
  76. Investigative Post, "AOC coming to Buffalo for India Walton," Oct. 20, 2021
  77. 77.0 77.1 YouTube, "St. Joe's Collegiate Institute hosts final debate for Buffalo mayoral race," Oct. 27, 2021
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  79. 79.0 79.1 Investigative Post, "Federal appeals court stays order to put Brown on ballot," Sept. 16, 2021
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  83. 83.0 83.1 Prime Publishers, Inc., "Judge orders Byron Brown's name to be put on ballot in November mayoral election," Sept. 3, 2021
  84. 84.0 84.1 84.2 WKBW, "Brown campaign, voters file lawsuits to get name on November ballot," Sept. 2, 2021
  85. 85.0 85.1 New York State Courts, "Index No. 811973/2021," Aug. 28, 2021
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  88. Byron Brown's campaign website, “About," accessed Sept. 17, 2021
  89. India Walton's campaign website, “Policy Agendas,” accessed Oct. 25, 2021
  90. Benjamin Carlisle's campaign website, “Platform,” accessed Sept. 17, 2021
  91. WKBW, "Erie County Board of Elections votes not to certify the General Election ballot yet," Sept. 9, 2021
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  93. WIVB, "Byron Brown’s petition to get on ballot with ‘Buffalo Party’ ruled invalid," Aug. 27, 2021
  94. The Buffalo News, "Erie County Board of Elections to appeal federal court decision forcing Brown on ballot," Sept. 7, 2021
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  101. 101.0 101.1 Twitter, "Mayor Byron W. Brown," June 2, 2021 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "laborcouncil" defined multiple times with different content
  102. WBFO, "Buffalo Mayor Brown, saying India Walton’s victory ‘will not stand,’ announces write-in campaign," June 29, 2021
  103. WBFO, "Walton misses deadline for Working Party mayoral nomination," April 1, 2021
  104. Challenger Community News, "We Endorse India Walton for Mayor," June 10, 2021
  105. The Buffalo News, "The Editorial Board: Brown has earned a fifth term as Buffalo mayor," June 12, 2021
  106. Facebook, "India Walton," June 20, 2021
  107. Facebook, "India Walton," May 29, 2021
  108. Byron W. Brown," June 7, 2021
  109. Both the national organization and Buffalo branch endorsed Walton
  110. Spectrum News 1, "Two Buffalo mayoral candidates endorsed by local organizations," June 7, 2021
  111. Text was transcribed from a video source. Line breaks added by Ballotpedia.
  112. YouTube, “Mayor Brown Announcement Video,” Feb. 26, 2021
  113. Le'Candice Durham's campaign website, “Durham's Vision,” accessed June 23, 2021
  114. India Walton's campaign website, “Issues,” accessed June 23, 2021
  115. U.S. Census Bureau, "State and County Quick Facts," accessed October 28, 2014
  116. City of Buffalo, "History of the Common Council," accessed October 28, 2014
  117. Note: Percentages for race and ethnicity may add up to more than 100 percent because respondents may report more than one race and the Hispanic/Latino ethnicity may be selected in conjunction with any race. Read more about race and ethnicity in the census here.