In 2018, Dana Balter had a late surge but ultimately came up short in New York's 24th Congressional District race. If a new Democratic political action committee is successful, it would help candidates like Balter win these close contests.
The Late Breakers PAC announced its launch Monday. The organization's mission, according to a news release, is to support Democrats in House races "being overlooked by the national party and our progressive allies and friends."
The PAC, which will make independent expenditures in these races, also released its first round of potential targets. The 30 targets include four races in New York: The 17th, 21st, 23rd and 24th congressional districts.
In the 24th, Balter is facing Republican U.S. Rep. John Katko in a rematch of the 2018 election. Katko won that campaign by five percentage points.
Public polling showed that Katko had a double-digit lead late in the race, but it didn't reflect the actual situation on the ground in central New York. Balter narrowed the gap and raised $1.5 million in a quarter, the most ever for a Syracuse-area congressional candidate.
"Every election cycle, as many as a dozen congressional candidates that few believed could win break the other way. Their races end incredibly close," the PAC said in a statement. "These Democrats go months without major media coverage, are often underfunded, and lack the attention of the (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) and allied groups because they are seen as unwinnable. These candidates often come within a few hundred votes of flipping a House seat even though they are outspent by millions."
Late Breakers added that it will track the races that could be decided by a few points. "We will research and we will invest," the group said.
The PAC cited two examples of races in 2018 that Democrats narrowly lost. In Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District, Kara Eastman lost by two percentage points. Jan McDowell, a Democrat who ran in the 24th Congressional District in Texas, lost by three percentage points.
"We fully understand that resources are scarce and that our friends and allies at the national level can only fund and support a finite number of races," Late Breakers said. "But that also means that candidates who can win get cut off. To us, that's unacceptable and we are going to help solve that problem."
Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.
Get Government & Politics updates in your inbox!
Stay up-to-date on the latest in local and national government and political topics with our newsletter.