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After Dana Balter wins Democratic primary, DCCC plans to evaluate race

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Primary Day 8.JPG

Democratic congressional candidate Dana Balter talks to reporters after voting on June 26 in Syracuse.

The chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said Tuesday night that his organization "will be evaluating" the 24th Congressional District race after Dana Balter's primary win

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, who leads the DCCC, congratulated Balter, D-Syracuse, on "her strong race" but fell short of pledging any resources to aid in her bid to unseat Republican Rep. John Katko in November. 

"As Democrats, we must be united around the fact that Representative John Katko has failed the people of central New York," Lujan said in a statement. "John Katko must be held accountable for voting in lockstep with President Trump and particularly his vote to give massive handouts to corporate special interests at the expense of New Yorkers' everyday costs, and we will be evaluating this race in the coming weeks." 

Balter, D-Syracuse, defeated the DCCC's preferred candidate, Juanita Perez Williams, by 26 points in the primary election. Perez Williams, D-Syracuse, received financial support from House Democrats, including Lujan, ahead of Tuesday's primary. 

Lujan's political action committee, Turquoise PAC, donated $5,000 to Perez Williams' campaign. The DCCC spent nearly $20,000 to help the Syracuse Democrat get on the primary ballot. Earlier this month, the committee announced a coordinated ad buy with Perez Williams' campaign. 

After Perez Williams entered the congressional race in April, the DCCC added her to its "Red to Blue" program. The program is designed to help Democratic challengers against Republican incumbents. 

The DCCC's involvement in the primary drew criticism from local party leaders. The chairs of the district's four county Democratic committees accused the committee of "meddling" in the race. 

Local Democrats had designated Balter as their candidate in February. Until Perez Williams' entry in early April, it didn't appear Balter would face a serious challenge for the party's nomination. 

With her convincing primary win Tuesday night, Balter is hopeful that the national Democrats will get behind her as she aims to defeat a two-term Republican incumbent. 

"I look forward to their support as we move forward towards November and take on John Katko," she said in a phone interview. "It's going to take all of the resources we can put together to beat him. But my focus will continue to be, as it always has been, on the needs of the people in this district." 

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