Gov. Kathy Hochul declined to involve herself in the race for Buffalo mayor between Democratic nominee India Walton and incumbent Byron Brown.
Walton, a self-described Democratic socialist, defeated Brown in the Democratic primary race back in June, but has not received the endorsement of many of the state’s top Democrats, with two weeks to go before the general election.
“We have a unique situation there and I'm going to be looking forward to truly working hard rolling my sleeves up with whoever emerges as the victor,” Hochul said at a news briefing Tuesday. “I will work with whoever the voters select.”
The “unique situation” is Brown’s decision to mount a write-in campaign since losing the primary to Walton.
“The process allows people to exercise different ways to be considered by the voters in November," Hochul said.
In 2017, Hochul, as well as Gov. Andrew Cuomo, endorsed Brown for mayor long before the general election, though he was already a longtime incumbent at the time. He was also endorsed by U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer — neither of whom have made an endorsement in this race.
The neutral stance by Hochul, a Western New Yorker herself, has been complicated this week by comments made by New York Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs, who told Spectrum News 1 on Monday that just because a candidate wins a primary does not mean the party has to endorse them, giving a hypothetical example of if former KKK leader David Duke were to win a primary in New York.
Hochul on Tuesday said Jacobs’ comments were “disturbing” and hopes he apologizes to her personally.