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Women Join Dana Balter in Condemning John Katko's Campaign Ads


Twenty-fourth district Democratic Congressional Candidate Dana Balter is accusing incumbent John Katko of crossing a line with negative and misleading campaign ads.   

“His campaign tactics are actively and intentionally stoking fear in an attempt to divide us,” Balter said. “The racist dog whistles and sexist tropes that he’s been using in his ads are abhorrent.”


Balter said she’s heard from thousands of people across the district who are angry and appalled by the ads, which she says include unflattering and manipulated photos. 

“Putting multiple women together in one photo, all with their mouths open like they’re angry, making them look like they’re screaming at you. This is feeding into the misogynist stereotypes of hectoring women, women who won’t shut up,” Balter said.

Auburn High School senior Jane Oliver gave her own testimonial criticizing what she sees as sexist tactics in the ads. 

Credit WAER
Women from the district joined Balter in speaking up against Katko's ads. From left to right, Gwen Webber-Mcleod of Auburn, Jill Ferguson of Syracuse, and Jane Oliver of Auburn High School.

“It feels like when we try to take two steps foreward the other side wants to take another three backwards,” Jane said. “In my own womens studies class at Auburn High School, we’ve talked about campaigns like John Katko’s, and how upset it makes us to see someone who is supposed to be representing us employ misogynistic attacks against his opponent rather than debating the real issues.”

Balter said all 15 of her commercials are about the issues at hand and they don’t include unflattering photos or character attacks. In an email, John Katko’s campaign political director Benedicte Doran said their ads show Dana Balter for who she is: a professional candidate and protester. They also accused Balter of lying in her ads, and lying now to distract from her “extreme and costly positions.” 

See the full response from Katko’s campaign below.


Benedicte Doran, Katko for Congress Political Director: "There are no people of color in our bail reform ad, and to assume the spot portrays a Black man is offensive. Our ads show Dana Balter for who she is: a professional candidate and protester.  They focus on her far-left support of bail reform and a costly government takeover of healthcare.  Dana Balter lies in her ads, and is  lying now to try and distract from her extreme and costly positions, which is insulting to Central New York voters."




Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at