Buffalo mayor can appear on November ballot as independent

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown can appear on the November ballot as an independent candidate after losing the Democratic primary in his reelection bid, a judge ruled Friday.

The four-term mayor of New York’s second-largest city was knocked off the ballot when he lost the June primary to India Walton, a Socialist candidate in her first run for office.

His efforts to qualify for the independent Buffalo Party line initially fell short when the Erie County Board of Elections rejected a nominating petition because it was submitted after a state-imposed deadline.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge John Sinatra issued an order preventing the Board of Elections from enforcing the deadline and ordered the board to put Brown’s name on the ballot.

Sinatra said the deadline, which the Legislature moved up by several weeks during the pandemic, “burdens plaintiffs’ rights.”

Walton said she would consider an immediate appeal and accused her opponents of trying to “circumvent democracy” and drain her grassroots campaign’s limited resources with legal fees.

“We held a primary election. Mayor Brown was the endorsed Democrat. He was on the ballot in the primary and he lost. So the fact that he is able to have a second bite at the apple, it just shows that he is a true sore loser,” she said at a news conference.

The ruling came in a case brought by five Brown supporters who said the earlier filing deadline violated their constitutional rights.

“There are literally thousands of people across the city that have been supporting our campaign,” Brown, who launched a write-in campaign following the primary, said. “I am now even more confident that we will be victorious in the November second general election.”

With no Republican in the race, Walton’s primary win would ordinarily have all but guaranteed her win in the general election. If elected, the nurse and community organizer would be Buffalo’s first woman mayor.

Brown has matched the record for longest-serving Buffalo mayor.