U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has endorsed India Walton in the race for Buffalo mayor, days after he was pressed why he hadn’t backed the Democratic nominee.
Walton, a self-described Democratic socialist, defeated incumbent Mayor Byron Brown in the Democratic primary race back in June, but has yet to receive public backing from many of the state’s top Democrats, with less than two weeks remaining before Election Day and just before early voting is set to begin.
“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 Thursday. “India is an inspiring community leader, mother, nurse, and a lifelong Buffalonian with a clear progressive vision for her hometown.”
New York's senior senator said that Walton won the Democratic primary “fair and square” and that he has “always believed that the Democratic party is a big tent and is strongest and most able to build national majorities and bring meaningful change, when it is inclusive – that is exactly how the Senate Democratic caucus is structured.”
The prospect of top Democratic leaders backing Walton came to a head earlier this week when state Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs told Spectrum News 1 that just because a candidate wins a primary does not mean the party has to endorse them, giving a hypothetical example of if former KKK leader David Duke were to win a primary in New York.
Jacobs later apologized for those comments.
If elected, Walton would be the first Democratic socialist to be elected mayor of a major American city in more than 50 years. Mayor Brown is mounting a write-in campaign against her.
For her part, Gov. Kathy Hochul said earlier this week she would not be making an endorsement in this race.