The first fight over a late entry of a Democratic Congressional Candidate in the 24th District has been settled by the State Board of Elections. Juanita Perez-Williams was granted approval to face-off against the Onondaga County Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate Dana Balter in June. Perez-Williams says that she assessed things on the sideline before launching her campaign.
"Were we going to have a candidate that got national attention? Were we going to have a candidate that could raise money to be competitive? That wasn't happening. I, on the other hand, was being told from many different sources, that we could get that national attention. Sure enough, the day I jumped in, our seat in the 24th congressional district was turned from a Red to Blue seat.”
She says there’s a need to wake-up Democrats that have given-up after Republican John Katko won back to back terms. However, the locally endorsed candidate Dana Balter argues there’s a process of campaigning far in advance, as she has. She feels the national party’s support of Perez-Williams could backfire.
“They [local democratic party committees] are fed up with DC insiders telling them what they should want and what's best for them, instead of listening to them. When they say, 'here's what I need, these are the problems communities are facing, these are the solutions that we think are going to work.'”
Balter says her campaign submitted more than eight-thousand signed petitions to Perez-Williams’ nearly 1,400 accepted signatures after others were disqualified.
“All I'm doing is getting in this race to make sure we bring attention, so people know who the candidates are, and to make sure they know how viable the democratic party is to win this race in November,” Perez Williams said.
Democrats have reserved the right to still legally challenge Perez-Williams. If they don’t, the Democratic primary for the race will be June 26th.