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Ocasio-Cortez stumps for Walton in Buffalo as early voting starts

India Walton is riding a wave of support for her Buffalo mayoral campaign. On Saturday, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stumped for her downtown.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A rally held by the India Walton Campaign Saturday at the Town Ballroom drew nearly 1,000 attendees. Many waited in a line that wrapped around the block before they could enter.

Walton is riding a wave of support after being endorsed by New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. Another well-known backer, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) stumped for Walton at her Saturday event.

"The first thing I need you to do is go cast your vote, make the headline in the morning, say this is the biggest turnout for early voting in Erie County," Walton told the Town Ballroom crowd.

Chants for the Democratic primary winner soon followed. Ocasio-Cortez then took the stage.

"Buffalo is making waves, has been making waves, and I want you to know that the state is watching. And here, around the country, we see what y'all are doing," she said.

National outlets including CBS and NBC have placed new focus on the Buffalo Mayoral Race. If elected, Walton would be the first Democratic-Socialist mayor to lead a major city.

Walton's write-in campaign opponent, incumbent Mayor Byron Brown held his own really in South Buffalo Saturday. Brown supporters came out in full force for the four-term mayor. "What are we going to do today," Brown asked. "Write down, Byron Brown," the crowd chanted in response.

"We know from our door-knocking and phone calling that the momentum is on our side. More people in every single section of Buffalo want to vote for us," said Mayor Brown. He cast his ballot at the Delavan-Grider Community Center later that day, using one of his campaign-issued "Write Down" stamps. 

The mayoral race will only continue to heat up. Next week St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute will host a debate. St. Joe's has invited Mayor Brown, Democratic Party primary winner India Walton, and write-in candidate Benjamin Carlisle to take part.

The event is scheduled for 9:15 a.m. Wednesday. The event is not open to the public.