Dana Balter won the 24th District Congressional Primary by a landslide with 62% of the votes against her opponent, Juanita Perez-Williams. She won more votes in Onondaga County alone than the total number of people who came out to vote for the 2016 primary.
More than 23,000 people exercised their right to vote in the Democratic Primary, more than twice the number of people who voted just two years ago. This could in part be due to the rise in concern over national issues.
It could also be due to the fact that Illinois, New Jersey, and New York all have the highest percentage of people moving in from other states, encompassing 63% of total movers. With all the new residents coming to New York from other states, there are more eligible voters than previous years.
“This is impressive to see so many new people who haven’t voted in the primary before coming to the polls and doubling our turnout from two years ago,” said Dustin Czarny, Democratic Commissioner of the Onondaga County Board of Elections.
He said that the 25% margin of victory is incredibly surprising. Balter won 133 of the 177 polling places in the entire district.
“I think the energy shown by the winner, Dana Balter, she got more votes in Onondaga county than that were cast two years ago,” Czarny added. “She won every town. She won the city of Syracuse overall. She won each of the four different counties.”
Now, the winner must keep the momentum going as she prepares to face Republican Congressman John Kato in November. According to the most recent filings with the Federal Election Commission, Balter has more than $302,000 in contributions, and Kato has raised more than $1.5 million. This probably doesn’t scare Balter, though, because she was underfunded for the primary compared to Perez-Williams, and she still won.
“People realize that local elections matter, and while the turnout for local elections is still pretty abysmal…they are going up,” Czarny said.