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John Katko

U.S. Rep. John Katko.

The Citizen file

New York's largest minor political party is once again supporting U.S. Rep. John Katko in the 24th Congressional District race. 

The state Independence Party endorsed Katko, R-Camillus, for a third term in Congress. Katko has received the party's backing since he first ran for Congress in 2014. 

Frank MacKay, chairman of the state Independence Party, called Katko an "independent, forward-thinking leader." 

"We've stood with John in his two prior races for Congress, and we're very proud to endorse him again this year," he said. 

Katko received 6,825 votes on the Independence Party's ballot line in 2014. He won the election against incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Dan Maffei by 20 points. 

In 2016, he received 10,931 votes on the Independence line as he defeated Democratic challenger Colleen Deacon by 22 points. 

Katko will likely run on at least three party lines in the November general election. In past elections, he has been the Republican, Conservative and Independence candidate for Congress. For the last election, he also ran on the Reform Party line. 

But the Independence Party line is the most prominent of the minor parties in New York. As of November, there were 22,088 active Independence Party voters in the 24th Congressional District. That's nearly three times the number of Conservative Party voters in the district. 

In a statement, Katko said he is "humbled" to have the Independence Party's support. 

"Throughout my time in Congress, I have worked to be an independent voice for individuals and families in central New York," he said. "I will continue to work to fight through gridlock and advance bipartisan reforms on the issues that matter most to our community." 

Katko will likely face Democratic candidate Dana Balter in the general election. Balter has been endorsed by the four county Democratic committees in the district. She won the Onondaga County Democrats' designation at the group's meeting Saturday in Syracuse. 

Two of the four Democrats who entered the race have bowed out after Balter's win. Scott Comegys and Anne Messenger have said they will not continue their campaigns. 

Another Democrat, Bill Bass, said he will challenge Balter in the primary. If a primary occurs, it will be held Tuesday, June 26. 

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

Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.