Dana Balter concedes to Rep. John Katko

Balter concedes to Katko

Dana Balter congratulates opponent John Katko as the race for Congress ends.
Published: November 13, 2020
2020 Election: Dana Balter vs. John Katko

U.S. Rep. John Katko has secured a fourth term in Congress as the representative for New York’s 24th congressional district. Katko won 57.9% of the vote.

Balter, a Syracuse Democrat, conceded Friday after she failed to close the Election Day gap with absentee ballots.

“The current absentee ballot count makes it clear that our campaign does not have a path forward,” Balter said. “Today, I congratulate Congressman Katko on his victory and hope that in his next term, he will advocate for policies that will help working families in this district.”

Katko won 178,319 votes and Balter won 118,472, as of this morning. Katko currently leads by 19 percentage points. 90% of precincts have been reported.

Mail-in ballot counting in the 24th congressional district’s counties began on different days. Wayne County is the last to begin counting mail-in ballots and will start the process on Monday.

Balter refused to concede last week after Katko declared victory. She said every vote should be counted before a victor was declared.

“In an election with unprecedented use of mail-in voting, we must allow time for all mail-in ballots to be counted,” Balter said Wednesday.

Although 70,000 absentee ballots were outstanding, Katko declared victory on Election Day, saying his campaign had been successful.

“As the outstanding absentee ballots are counted in NY-24, it’s clear our campaign has prevailed,” Katko said.

Even though Balter earned 65.2% of mail-in ballots, Katko’s lead from Election Day was insurmountable.

Katko’s campaign filed a lawsuit on Nov. 6 asking a judge for additional oversight on absentee ballot counting. The request delayed counting in Onondaga County by one day.

The remainder of the absentee ballot counting was delayed again today when an employee of the Onondaga County Board of Elections tested positive for COVID-19, forcing counting to be suspended.

Onondaga County Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny said in a tweet that all staff had been tested.

“The employees are safe and have been tested,” Czarny said. “The exposure happened Nov. 5th from another employee who tested positive and was hospitalized today and tested today.”

In the neighboring 22nd congressional district, Rep. Anthony Brindisi and Claudia Tenney are still battling it out.

With 80% of precincts reported, Tenney still leads Brindisi by 21,094 votes, according to Syracuse.com. Brindisi has gained ground since Election Day since absentee ballot counting began. Initially, Tenney led by 28,422 votes on Election Day, a lead which has been cut by 7,328 votes.

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is a contributor for The NewsHouse.