Barring any challenges, Juanita Perez Williams will appear on the June 26 Democratic primary ballot in the 24th Congressional District.
Perez Williams, D-Syracuse, said in an interview with The Citizen Thursday that her campaign collected more than 3,200 signatures. The petitions were submitted to the state Board of Elections Thursday — the final day for candidates to file designating petitions for the federal primary.
To qualify for party primaries, congressional candidates must submit 1,250 valid signatures from voters in their districts.
More than 50 volunteers from central New York helped Perez Williams gather petitions. She also received assistance from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the House Democrats' political organization.
"We only had nine days to do this," she said. "I'm just so humbled by all the people who came forward to help us."
There is a three-day period for individuals to challenge the validity of a candidate's petitions. The last day to authorize petitions for federal primaries is Monday, according to the state Board of Elections.
If Perez Williams' petitions are approved, she will join Dana Balter in the Democratic primary for Congress. Balter, a Syracuse Democrat, submitted more than 8,000 signatures this week to appear on the Democratic, Women's Equality and Working Families ballot lines.
Balter won the Democratic designation in February.
Before Perez Williams' entry last week, there was the possibility of a primary. Another candidate, Bill Bass, remained in the race after Balter won the designation. But Bass has since dropped out of the Democratic primary race and is planning to continue his campaign as an independent.
That leaves Balter and Perez Williams in the race for the Democratic nomination. The winner will face U.S. Rep. John Katko, a two-term Republican, in the general election.
Perez Williams is encouraged by the response her campaign has received since announcing her candidacy last week. She said a couple from Auburn arrived at her campaign office earlier this week and passed petitions for her.
The next day, the couple returned with a "list full" of names, according to Perez Williams.
"It showed me how people are excited about this," she said.