U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New York's junior senator and a former Democratic presidential candidate, is supporting Dana Balter in the 24th Congressional District race.
Gillibrand, who received the most votes in the 24th district as a U.S. Senate candidate in 2010, 2012 and 2018, called Balter, D-Syracuse, "a tireless advocate for working New York families" in a statement announcing her endorsement.
"Dana knows what it's like to work through tough challenges; she worked her way through college as a waitress, has advocated for her brother with disabilities, and almost went bankrupt due to medical costs," Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said. "That's why voters in Dana's district know that they can trust her because she's fought the tough fights. It's going to take hard work to clean up the damage done by Donald Trump and Dana is the partner we need in Congress to help move our state and country forward."
Balter is challenging Republican U.S. Rep. John Katko, who is seeking a fourth term representing the 24th Congressional District. The district includes all of Cayuga, Onondaga and Wayne counties, plus the western part of Oswego County.
Two polls released by Democratic groups show that Balter is either ahead of or tied with Katko, R-Camillus, in the 24th district race. A poll conducted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee found Balter leading by three points, 48 to 45%, over Katko. Another poll released by House Majority PAC showed that Balter and Katko are in a dead heat.
Political forecasters have moved the race rating from likely to lean Republican. But Katko does have a financial advantage in the campaign. He has $1.3 million more in the bank than Balter.
Gillibrand's support will likely come with a financial contribution to Balter's campaign. When Gillibrand endorsed Balter in 2018, the senator's political action committee, Off the Sidelines, made donations to support Balter's bid.
"Senator Gillibrand is a champion for our state and I'm honored to have her support in this race," Balter said. "Our region deserves to have a congresswoman who will work alongside Senator Gillibrand to ensure that everyone has affordable health care and real economic opportunity.
"John Katko and Republicans in Washington have stood in the way of important legislation that Senator Gillibrand has put forward that would strengthen working families and it's time that she has a partner that will fight with her to make sure that everyone has a fair shot at success."
The race between Balter and Katko is a rematch of the 2018 election. Katko won reelection by five percentage points.
Before getting a second chance to unseat Katko, Balter had to win the Democratic primary. She defeated Francis Conole by 26 percentage points to win the Democratic nomination in June.
Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.
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