Former President Barack Obama has endorsed three Democratic candidates in key central New York congressional and state legislative races.
In his second round of midterm election endorsements, Obama backed Dana Balter in the 24th Congressional District, John Mannion in the 50th Senate District race and Rachel May in the 53rd Senate District race.
Balter, D-Syracuse, is challenging Republican U.S. Rep. John Katko in the 24th district race. Katko, R-Camillus, is seeking a third term in Congress.
On Monday, Balter announced she raised more than $1.5 million in the third quarter of 2018. It's a new fundraising record for a candidate in the Syracuse-area congressional race.
Mannion, an Advanced Placement biology teacher at West Genesee High School in Camillus, is the Democratic nominee in the 50th district race. He is vying to succeed retiring state Sen. John DeFrancisco, a Republican. The GOP candidate in the race is Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci.
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Mannion's campaign noted that in his re-election bid in 2012, Obama won the 50th district by 11 percentage points.
"I am proud to earn President Obama's endorsement and I thank him for supporting my state Senate campaign," Mannion said. "Central New Yorkers are fed up with the chaos and corruption that plagues Albany and Washington. I am running to clean up Albany, grow the central New York economy, and help our communities thrive for generations to come. With President Obama's support, I know we will win in November and help move central New York forward."
May, D-Syracuse, won the Democratic primary in the 53rd Senate District, defeating incumbent state Sen. David Valesky. While Valesky, D-Oneida, will remain on the ballot, he won't actively campaign for re-election. Janet Burman is the Republican candidate in the race.
In a statement, Obama lauded the Democratic field of candidates as more diverse and acknowledged that more women are running for office this year.
"They're Americans who aren't just running against something, but for something," he said. "They're running to expand opportunity and restore honor and compassion that should be the essence of public service. I'm proud to endorse so many of them today, and I'm eager to continue making the case for why they deserve our votes this November."
Obama has been playing an active role on the campaign trail supporting candidates across the country. In his first wave of endorsements, he included two New Yorkers: Antonio Delgado, who is challenging U.S. Rep. John Faso in the 19th Congressional District, and Anna Kaplan, a Democratic candidate for the 7th Senate District seat.
Obama's role extends beyond the endorsements. He has headlined rallies in California, Ohio and Pennsylvania. He will appear with Democratic candidates ahead of the midterm elections in November.
This story will be updated.