Progressives call for Buffalo mayor's removal from DNC position

Progressives call for Buffalo mayor's removal from DNC position
© Associated Press/Jeffrey T. Barnes

Some progressives are calling for Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown (D) to be removed from his position in the Democratic National Committee (DNC) after his write-in campaign won reelection last week, defeating Democratic nominee India Walton.

Larry Cohen, the chair of the group Our Revolution, which is aligned with Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWe are America's independent contractors, and we are terrified Overnight Health Care — Biden's Supreme Court setback Republican rep who voted to impeach Trump running for reelection MORE (I-Vt.), told Politico that Brown’s “stunt” in last week’s election was a “disgrace.”

“When you pull a stunt like this, somebody wins a primary, a working-class woman, and you go to every rich donor in both parties to fund a write-in campaign … it’s a disgrace,” Cohen said.

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He said he is planning a push for Democrats to oust Brown from his position on the national committee.

The attempt, however, has small odds of success. Cohen called the undertaking an “uphill slog” but said he will “try to organize something, and so will a lot of other people.”

The New York DNC's website lists Brown as a state committee member representing an assembly district in Buffalo. He was also chair of the state party from 2016 to 2019. 

The effort to strip Brown of his position at the DNC comes one week after the Buffalo mayor secured another term as chief of New York’s second city.

Brown mounted a write-in campaign for reelection after he was defeated in the city’s primary race by democratic socialist Walton. The results of the primary race sent shockwaves through the Empire State.

Brown said his victory was a rebuke of “socialism” and efforts to take funding away from law enforcement.

Walton herself is supportive of the effort to remove Brown from his DNC position, telling Politico, “Not only do I support the DNC revoking Byron Brown's post; I believe it would set a dangerous precedent not to.”

The New York chapter of the progressive Working Families Party is also backing the undertaking, according to Politico.

The Brown campaign responded to the effort in a statement to Politico, telling the outlet that the mayor’s “Democratic Party bona fides are well known and beyond reproach.”

“Any questions of them by Bernie Sanders or India Walton are without merit, and are simply sour grapes following a decisive write-in defeat in the Buffalo mayoral election last week,” the campaign added.

The Hill reached out to Our Revolution and the DNC for more information and to Brown and Walton for comment.