WASHINGTON – Buffalo Democratic mayoral candidate India B. Walton on Friday picked up her second big endorsement in two days, as Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand announced that she is backing the primary winner over Mayor Byron W. Brown, who is waging a write-in campaign.
"I am proud to endorse India Walton for mayor of Buffalo," Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, said in a statement. "She ran a truly impressive grassroots campaign and clearly has a heart for public service."
With one of the nation's most watched local elections less than two weeks away, on the day before early voting was set to begin, the two people who want to lead Buffalo as the city's mayor for the next four years continued to highlight their differences and gather support they hope will carry them to victory.
Gillibrand's announcement came a day after Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer endorsed Walton – and two days after Gillibrand hinted that she might be about to do that.
Asked if she planned to make an endorsement in the race, Gillibrand told The Buffalo News: "I look forward to meeting the Democratic nominee. I look forward to sitting down with her and hearing about her vision for Buffalo and what she wants to accomplish. And after that meeting, I will let you know."
People are also reading…
In her statement, Gillibrand stressed that Walton is the kind of candidate she often supports.
Just over half of the $1.5 million Byron Brown raised in the first nine months of this year came from supporters inside the city. India Walton reported only about a third of her money coming from city residents.
"I have spent my career trying to elect more women to office, from city council to Congress and the White House," Gillibrand said. "India’s experience as a working mother and health care professional will have prepared her well to help tackle the challenges facing Buffalo working families as they strive to recover from the pandemic and its economic toll."
Walton is a nurse and community organizer who upset Brown, a four-term incumbent, in the Democratic primary in June, thereby prompting Brown to wage his write-in effort.
Gillibrand made clear, though, that she's ready to move on to work with a new Buffalo mayor.
"I look forward to working with India to help Buffalo build back better and to lay the foundation for a bright future," Gillibrand said.
Schumer issued a similar statement Thursday, just days before the start of early voting in the race.
"As Buffalo voters start to head to the polls this weekend, I urge them to cast their ballot for India Walton as the next mayor of Buffalo," Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer said.
"As Buffalo voters start to head to the polls this weekend, I urge them to cast their ballot for India Walton as the next mayor of Buffalo," Schumer said in a statement sent to The Buffalo News. "India is an inspiring community leader, mother, nurse and a lifelong Buffalonian with a clear progressive vision for her hometown."
Asked to respond to the Schumer statement on Thursday, the Brown campaign responded Friday with a statement railing against Walton's "professional failures and personal transgressions" and her "ill-conceived socialist policy proposals."
"Any endorsement of her candidacy either embraces those troubling facts or ignores them," the Brown campaign said.