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Confident Walton says court rulings do not 'change our strategy'

Incumbent Mayor Byron Brown appears to be limited to a write-in effort after Thursday's rulings effectively knocked him off the ballot, for now.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — If India Walton is feeling more confident that she can win the Buffalo mayoral race in November, you would not know it from her answers at a Friday morning news conference.

The Democratic candidate scored a couple of legal victories Thursday. Both the Rochester Appellate Court and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned lower court rulings, effectively knocking incumbent Byron Brown off the ballot.

Asked if the election tilted more in her favor, Walton played it off.

“We’re going to run a strong campaign. We are going to continue to aggressively fundraise. We going to continue to run a tight field game, and knock on all the doors, and talk to the voters, and I think we’re going to come out victorious on November 2,” she said.

2 On Your Side followed up questioning whether she meant the court rulings have zero impact.

Walton’s response: “It doesn’t change our strategy.”

The court decisions did have an impact on the Erie County Board of Elections. Friday afternoon, commissioners finalized the ballot. Walton is the only name listed in the mayor’s race. At the bottom of the column, a write-in space where Brown hopes supports will pen-in his name.

“It’s not our job to promote a write-in campaign,” Democratic elections commissioner Jeremy Zellner said.

That job falls to the Brown campaign. Before the legal maneuvering, supporters were already engaged in training and preparation to get Brown supporters to the polls on Election Day and provide instruction on how to write-in Brown’s name.

Buffalo Common Council Member Christopher Scanlon is spearheading efforts for the Brown campaign in South Buffalo.

“Obviously after yesterday’s decisions, it changes things a little bit, but it doesn’t alter the strategy at all,” Scanlon said.  

Legal appeals to Thursday's decisions are still a possibility, but Brown and his campaign have yet to signal if will pursue that, or merely buckle-in for the remaining six-plus weeks left in the campaign.