Juanita Perez Williams, a former U.S. Navy officer, has won the support of a prominent progressive veterans organization as she vies for the Democratic nomination in the 24th Congressional District.
VoteVets endorsed Perez Williams, D-Syracuse, and released a 30-second television commercial this week supporting her candidacy. The group, which was founded in 2006 by two Iraq war veterans, supports Democrats in congressional races.
The cost of the ad buy was $204,590.16, according to Federal Election Commission records. VoteVets paid $14,079.35 to produce the commercial. The group also spent $30,294 on digital advertising in support of Perez Williams' candidacy.
In the ad, VoteVets calls Perez Williams a "true blue patriot" and a "true blue progressive." It includes some biographical information about the candidate, including her naval service.
After college, Perez Williams served as a prosecutor in the Judge Advocate General's Corps.
Perez Williams tweeted Monday that she is "incredibly honored" to be endorsed by VoteVets.
"I grew up in a military family and joined the Navy after college," she wrote. "I never thought I would run for public office, but when I saw my community hurting, I knew I had to step up to serve."
Perez Williams is one of two candidates running for the Democratic nomination in the 24th district. The other is Dana Balter, an activist and visiting assistant teaching professor at Syracuse University.
Balter is the designated Democratic candidate in the race. She has the support of the district's four county Democratic committees.
A poll released Wednesday found Perez Williams leads by 13 points, 45 to 32 percent, over Balter.
The Democratic primary is Tuesday, June 26. The winner will face U.S. Rep. John Katko, a Republican, in the November election.