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Dana Balter thinks Katko is beatable in 2020

Democrat Dana Balter was a political newcomer with little name recognition who faced a daunting task in 2018: Defeat John Katko, a Republican congressman who had vanquished two previous Democratic opponents by wide margins.

It didn’t happen, but Balter lost by only five percentage points in the race for the 24th House of Representatives seat. She also garnered more votes in Onondaga County than Katko.

“John Katko was seen as unbeatable,” Balter said by phone Friday. “We showed that this is simply not true.”

The next congressional race is not until 2020, but Balter is wasting no time in readying for another shot at the Republican from Camillus.

Balter announced last week she will seek the Democratic nomination once again for the right to take on Katko, considered one of the House’s more moderate members. Two other Democrats have announced their candidacies too: Roger Misso and Francis Conole, both of Syracuse.

Balter believes that if she gets the nomination, she can beat Katko this time around.

“We need this seat to be competitive, and it is definitely winnable,” she said. “He knows that he’s in trouble. He is scared and he should be. It’s a winnable seat, and I have every intention of finishing the job and winning.”

Balter said Katko’s vote for the 2017 tax reform package is an example of legislation that may be good for the wealthy, but it didn’t help many of those in the 24th District — besides Onondaga County, it includes Wayne and Cayuga counties and part of Oswego County.

The Democrat said many Central New York tax filers were burdened by big bills, where in the past they got refunds.

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