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Two Cayuga County groups are sponsoring a congressional candidates forum that will be held in Auburn later this month. 

The Auburn/Cayuga NAACP and Indivisible Cayuga scheduled the event for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 19, at the Auburn High School Library, 250 Lake Ave.

The forum, according to an advisory provided to The Citizen, was scheduled to coincide with the congressional district work period. Congress will be in recess until after Labor Day in September. 

The groups invited Republican U.S. Rep. John Katko and potential Democratic challengers Dana Balter, Francis Conole and Roger Misso to participate in the forum. 

Balter, D-Syracuse, Conole, D-Syracuse, and Misso, D-Syracuse, accepted the invitation and will answer questions at the event. 

Organizers said Katko, R-Camillus, declined the invitation. 

The forum is free and open to the public. Candidates will give introductory statements and take questions from the audience on a variety of topics, including civil rights, the environment, health care and immigration. 

Katko is seeking a fourth term representing the 24th Congressional District, which covers the western part of Oswego County and all of Cayuga, Onondaga and Wayne counties. 

In 2018, Katko defeated Balter by five points to win a third term in Congress. 

The race is a high priority for both parties in the 2020 election. For Republicans, retaining the seat is part of their strategy to win back the House next year. But it's a top target for Democrats who view it as a key pickup to strengthen their majority in the House. 

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

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Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at auburnpub.com.