BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown has claimed victory in the race for mayor as a write-in candidate, while challenger India Walton (D) has not conceded.
Brown has been mayor of Buffalo since 2006 and if declared winner, would be elected mayor for a historic fifth term.
As of 11:35 p.m. Walton has over 41 percent of the vote while the write-in candidate category has nearly 59 percent of the vote.
In June, Walton defeated Brown in the Democratic primary with 50.5% of the vote. Of the over 100,000 registered Democrats in Buffalo, only about 20% voted on the day of the primary.
Brown refused to concede on primary night, pledging to wait until every vote - including absentee votes - were counted.
Less than one week after Walton’s victory, Brown announced he would run as a write-in candidate, citing his low key primary campaign and low voter turnout, with the slogan “Write down Byron Brown.”
Following his write-in announcement, Brown attempted to be included on the November ballot by challenging the primary in the courts.
The Brown campaign cited the state legislature’s change in primary day, as well as change in day of the deadline to file a petition to appear on the November ballot, as being unconstitutional.
Walton's campaign called the legal challenges "frivolous," and raised concerns about U.S. District Judge John Sinatra's refusal to recuse himself, as his family had connections to Brown.
Despite initial victories in both federal and state court, both decisions in Brown’s favor were overturned - meaning Brown couldn’t appear on the November ballot.
Brown’s write-in campaign, which included support from high-profile figures in the political and business community, heavily outraised that of Walton’s.
In recent weeks, Walton garnered endorsements from U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer, as well as U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, among other high-profile Democrats.
Brown boasted support from common council members, the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association as well as other local unions.
Elections officials will need to count all of the write-in votes in order to determine if Brown has indeed defeated Walton.