Wild Finish in Buffalo Mayoral Race Hands 'Defund the Police' Movement Another Stinging Defeat

AP Photo/Matt York

I wrote a few days ago about how a sweet swan song was cueing up for ‘Defund the Police’ radicals who were hoping that Election Day results in select Democrat-run cities like Minneapolis and Buffalo would shift momentum in their direction after a string of stinging rejections and setbacks over the last year.

Fortunately, the song was even more beautiful than I anticipated as not only did Minneapolis outright reject the city council’s efforts to “reimagine” its police force, but the citizens of Buffalo, too, showed the movement the door in a mayoral race that had a rather wild run-up and finish.

The two candidates were Democratic socialist India Walton and Democrat Mayor Byron W. Brown, the latter of who the New York Times described as a “centrist.” You may be wondering how is it that two Democrats were competing against each other in the general election. The reason behind that is that Walton beat Brown, who has been in office for four terms, in the June Democratic primary.

Unhappy with the result, Brown declared himself a write-in candidate after he lost a legal challenge to get his name added to the general election ballot.

Things got a bit spicier in the race when some big-name Democrats got involved, including fellow Democratic socialists Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders who, among other nationally known Democrats like Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, endorsed Walton in part because she was pro-defunding the police. AOC even visited Buffalo in the final weeks to campaign on Walton’s behalf.

But as it turned out, Brown’s long history with the city as well as his relentless painting of Walton as too radical for even liberal Buffalo appears to have won the day. Though she has not officially conceded, Walton essentially said in a statement posted to Twitter earlier that though there were “tens of thousands” of votes still to be counted that the writing was on the wall for her campaign:

“Tens of thousands of write-in and absentee ballots have yet to be tabulated, and we believe that democracy requires that every vote be counted, and that any improprieties that occurred be brought to light,” Walton said in a Wednesday afternoon statement. “However, while we anticipate that the margins will narrow, it seems unlikely that we will end up with enough votes to inaugurate a Walton administration in January.”

According to Business Insider, by today “Walton had received 41% of the votes cast and counted while write-in candidates received 59% of the total votes cast, the vast majority of which are likely to go to Brown.” They also noted that New York law stipulates that write-in votes can’t be tabulated until 10 days after the election.

In addition to Minneapolis voters rejecting “reimagining” the police force and Walton’s apparent loss to Brown in Buffalo, New York City Democratic mayoral nominee Eric Adams easily won his race on Tuesday. Adams, a former police officer who says he faced police brutality as a teenager, publicly opposed and criticized the Defund the Police movement, characterizing it as a movement mostly led “by young white professionals.”

“When you start defunding, hey, the cop is no longer on your corner,” Adams said in a New York Magazine interview back in April. “That cop is no longer in your lobby. That cop is not standing outside when you leave your Broadway play. And I have never been to an event where the people were saying we want less cops. Never.”

See? Even in Democrat enclaves like Minneapolis, Buffalo, and New York City, sanity occasionally prevails. Occasionally.

Flashback: Terry McAuliffe Just Loses It When Asked by Virginia Sheriff if He Supports Defunding the Police