New York City Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams will host a Sept. 24 fundraiser in Brooklyn for mayoral candidate India B. Walton in another indication that the Buffalo election is drawing attention from some of the state's top progressive Democrats.
In an invitation to potential supporters, Williams – the second ranking official in New York City government considered by many political observers to be a potential statewide candidate – seeks donors for the event slated to take place at the Brooklyn home of Dorothy Siegel, a founding member of the left leaning Working Families Party. Williams, who appeared with Walton in Buffalo in one of her first public events following her June 22 victory of over incumbent Mayor Byron W. Brown, calls the Buffalo mayoral contest in his invitation the "most important (election) in New York State this November."
The candidates for mayor of Buffalo squared off Thursday for what is, as of now, the only debate scheduled between them, with Mayor Byron W. Brown and Democrat India B. Walton offering starkly different assessments of a city that Brown has run for the past 16 years.
"Republicans and their rich patrons are incensed by India’s program of pro-worker, pro-tenant and unapologetically progressive policies so they have organized support for Brown’s write-in (or, if successful in the courts), independent ballot line campaign in the general election," Williams said. "Predictably, rather than support their own nominee chosen by Democratic voters, party leaders, protecting the status quo, have failed to support India and instead have been indirectly supporting the Republican backed Brown."
Though only a handful of Buffalo Common Council members support Brown, and most other Democrats are either supporting Walton or remaining neutral, Williams' appeal asks progressive Democrats to rally around her by purchasing tickets to the event.
Co-hosts for the affair include top Democratic figures such as Michael Gianaris of Queens, deputy majority leader of the State Senate; Brad Lander, member of the New York City Council from Brooklyn and Democratic nominee for city comptroller; Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, an Assembly member from Queens; Andrew Gounardes, a state senator from Brooklyn, and George Albro, co-chairman of the New York Progressive Action Network.
It has been expected that state and national figures from the Democratic Party's left wing will be active in supporting Walton, a democratic socialist who is emphasizing her progressive agenda.