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Dana Balter

Democratic candidate for Congress Dana Balter, speaks during a forum in Auburn.

Kevin Rivoli, The Citizen

Democratic congressional candidate Dana Balter had her best fundraising quarter since launching her campaign last fall. 

Balter, D-Syracuse, raised $120,024.87 in the first quarter of 2018, according to her campaign's filing available on the Federal Election Commission's website. Her campaign spent $91,574.61 and has $75,076.73 cash on hand. 

It's the first time Balter has raised more than $100,000 in a quarter since she entered the 24th Congressional District race in September. But she trails incumbent U.S. Rep. John Katko by a wide margin. Katko, R-Camillus, raised more than $266,000 in the first quarter of the year and has $1.24 million in the bank. 

While Katko raised most of his money from political committees, Balter received a vast majority of her funds from individual donors. She raised $115,024.87 from individuals, which accounts for nearly 96 percent of her total receipts. 

The lone donation to Balter from a political action committee came from Off the Sidelines, a PAC launched by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to encourage women to run for public office. Off the Sidelines contributed $5,000 to Balter's campaign, records show. 

The competition for Democratic dollars in the 24th district race could have affected Balter's fundraising performance. Until late February, there were four Democrats vying for the party's designation. Balter won the designation and two candidates, Scott Comegys and Anne Messenger, dropped out of the race. A third, Bill Bass, remained in the race but is now planning an independent bid for Congress. 

But Balter still faces a primary in the 24th district. Juanita Perez Williams, who donated to Balter's campaign at the end of the first quarter, is seeking the Democratic nomination. She collected more than 3,200 signatures to qualify for primary ballot.

Perez Williams entered the race after the end of the first quarter, so she won't submit a fundraising report. But she will likely receive financial support from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which helped her circulate petitions in the 24th district. 

The primary is scheduled for Tuesday, June 26. The winner of the primary will face Katko in the general election. 

It's possible that even if Balter loses the primary she will remain on the general election ballot. She filed petitions to appear on the Working Families and Women's Equality party lines. 

Katko, who will not face a primary opponent, will appear on the Republican, Conservative, Independence and Reform party lines. 

The 24th Congressional District includes all of Cayuga, Onondaga and Wayne counties, plus the western portion of Oswego County. 

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