Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul has already endorsed three New York candidates for Congress. On Wednesday, she made a fourth endorsement.
Hochul, a Democrat, is supporting Dana Balter in the 24th Congressional District race. Balter, D-Syracuse, is challenging U.S. Rep. John Katko, a Republican.
"Dana Balter knows what it's like to live paycheck to paycheck and struggle to make ends meet," Hochul said in a statement provided to The Citizen. "At a time when the Trump administration continues to fail central and western New York, Dana Balter will be a strong partner in Congress who will fight hard for our state's economic recovery and can be counted on by New Yorkers."
Balter joins two incumbents, U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Grace Meng, and challenger Jackie Gordon who have been endorsed by Hochul. But it's Balter who is arguably in the most competitive race of the four.
National Democrats have identified Katko, R-Camillus, as a top target for defeat. After Balter won the primary in June, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee quickly added her to its Red to Blue program for challengers in races against vulnerable Republicans.
Hochul has experience running in a competitive congressional race. In 2011, she was the Democratic candidate in a special election to fill a western New York House seat. She won the special election, but lost her reelection bid in 2012.
In her statement, Hochul said she will work to "help elect Democratic women like Dana Balter who will stand up for New Yorkers in swing districts across the state."
Balter is a candidate for Congress for the second time. She challenged Katko in 2018 and lost by five percentage points. Hochul also supported Balter's bid two years ago.
"I'm honored to have the support of Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul," Balter said in a statement. "As we grapple with these unprecedented public health and economic crises, she has been at the forefront of the response effort and is helping lead our state's economic recovery. Lt. Gov. Hochul has been a lifelong advocate for working families. In Congress, she voted time and again to defend the Affordable Care Act from Republican attacks. She knows what it's like to win tough fights and I'm so grateful to have her on our team."
Hochul is one of several notable Democrats supporting Balter's congressional campaign. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, through her campaign and political action committee, donated a total of $7,000 to help the Syracuse Democrat. A PAC led by DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos, an Illinois Democrat, made a contribution to Balter's campaign. Bustos has said Balter is "well-positioned" to win the 24th district race.
Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.
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