(Update, May 1) – Juanita Perez Williams has turned in the required number of signatures to appear on the ballot for New York’s 24th Congressional District race in June, the New York State Board of Elections said.
Perez Williams, a former mayoral candidate, announced she would run for the Democratic nomination in early April, after local Democrats endorsed Syracuse University Professor Dana Balter as their preferred candidate in February.
As a result, local Democrats recently challenged whether Perez Williams signatures were valid, in an apparent effort to keep her off the ballot.
The party’s Democratic nominee will face incumbent Republican Rep. John Katko to take the seat in November.
“The Board of Elections has reaffirmed what I’ve been saying for weeks — the work of dozens of volunteers and the voices of thousands of voters will be honored and my name will be on the ballot in the primary,” Perez Williams said in a statement. “If Dana Balter and John Katko want to continue working together to fight the state of New York and overturn the will of thousands of voters, that’s a real shame. While they are wasting taxpayer money on frivolous lawsuits, I will be out talking with New Yorkers about the issues that really matter in their lives — finding a job, paying for prescription drugs, and sending their kids to college.”
Democratic candidates must submit 1,250 valid petition signatures from registered Democrats inside the district in order to appear on the ballot.
(From April 6) – Democratic Party leaders accused the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) of meddling in the political race for the 24th Congressional district.
According to Syracuse.com, the chairs of the Cayuga, Onondaga, Oswego, and Wayne County Democratic Committees have denounced the DCCC for allegedly meddling with the Congressional race after Juanita Perez Williams unexpectedly announced her plans to run for Congress.
“From people engaged for the very first time this year, to party and elected officials we stand united behind our designed nominee Dana Balter and against the DC meddling that has hampered far too many races thus far,” said the Democratic Committees in a statement.
Perez Williams announced her plan to run for the Congressional seat on Monday, April 3, five weeks after the Democratic party met to endorse Dana Balter.
Balter, a Syracuse University professor and political newcomer, has announced her goals to support a Medicare-for-All system, reform the criminal justice system, and strengthen public education.
Up to 50% of the public school workforce in the U.S. is made up of teachers. Balter, who is also a visiting assistant teaching professor in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, has a history of being a teacher herself.
“The club’s very passionate about her,” said Jordan Lally, acting president of the College Democrats.
It’s for this reason that the announcement Perez Williams would also be running against Rep. John Katko came as a surprise. Mark English, the Onondaga County Democratic Committee Chairman, said Perez Williams had said she wouldn’t be running just this past January.
However, Perez Williams has until April 12 to collect the necessary 1,250 petition signatures necessary to successfully get on the ballot. Perez Williams also has teaching experience serving as the associate dean of students at Syracuse University and legal experience as an assistant New York state attorney general.
Democratic leaders say they’re concerned that Perez Williams’ presence in the race against Katko could potentially fracture the party at the time of the November election. Democratic votes that may be split between Perez Williams and Balter could potentially cause Katko to win the 24th Congressional seat.
Perez Williams has yet to make a public statement regarding her decision to run for Congress. The DCCC has declined to comment.