Dana Balter received the backing of another national Democratic organization in the 24th Congressional District race.
EMILY's List, a group that supports pro-choice Democratic women candidates, endorsed Balter, D-Syracuse, on Friday. Balter is challenging U.S. Rep. John Katko, a Republican seeking his third term representing the 24th district.
Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY's List, emphasized parts of Balter's biography, including her work in special education and advocacy on behalf of her younger brother, Jonathan, who has cognitive disabilities.
Schriock also referred to an injury Balter suffered in 2004. She had a severe concussion after falling and hitting her head. It took her eight years to recover from the effects of the injury.
"Dana knows firsthand how important access to affordable, quality health care is, and her own experience facing the fear and uncertainty that can come from having a preexisting condition led Dana to want to make sure others don't have to face the same concerns," Schriock said in a statement.
She added, "Now, (Balter) is running to fight not only for central and western New Yorkers' access to affordable health care, but also to expand economic opportunity, protect a woman's right to choose, improve public education and more."
Balter wants to preserve the Affordable Care Act, a 2010 health care law that has been referred to as ObamaCare. She also supports establishing a Medicare-for-all system, a single-payer program that would eliminate the need for private health insurance.
EMILY's List's endorsement follows the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's decision earlier this month to add Balter to its Red to Blue program. The initiative supports Democratic challengers in races against Republican incumbents.
The DCCC named Balter to the program more than a month after the Syracuse Democrat's primary win. She defeated Juanita Perez Williams by 25 points in the June 26 primary to secure the party's nomination.
National Democrats preferred Perez Williams. When she ran for Syracuse mayor last year, she was endorsed by EMILY's List.
But with the primary settled and the focus shifting to the general election, the national group is throwing its support behind Balter, who has already been endorsed by the Indivisible movement, Democracy for America and several other progressive organizations.
"I am proud to partner with EMILY's List to help create a government that benefits fully from the productive leadership of women," Balter said in a statement. "In Congress, I will continue to fight for women's equality and autonomy, including access to the full range of quality, affordable health care."
Democrats are hopeful that they can unseat Katko, R-Camillus, this year. He was first elected in 2014 and re-elected two years ago. In both contests, he defeated his Democratic opponents by at least 20 points.
However, Schriock noted that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won the 24th district in 2016. Democrats have an enrollment advantage in the district.
Schriock also tied Katko to President Donald Trump. Three Trump administration officials have visited central New York this summer. Vice President Mike Pence headlined a Syracuse fundraiser for the Republican congressman in June. Last month, Ivanka Trump, the first daughter and advisor to the president, joined Katko for an education roundtable.
In early August, Energy Secretary Rick Perry joined Katko for a tour of James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County. Katko and Perry also participated in an energy roundtable discussion.
Katko's support of the Trump agenda, Schriock said, hurts families in the 24th district.
"Fortunately, voters can elect Dana to be their champion in Washington, D.C., and fight for what matters most to them," she said. "Let's show Dana the full support of the EMILY's List community to flip this seat and take back the House."
The race will be challenging for Democrats, even in a year the party is expected to win several House seats.
Political forecasters rate the race likely Republican. Cook Political Report published a story this week that mentioned Katko as one of five Republicans who is "defying the blue wave."
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6.