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Elections

Negative ads ramp up in the race for CNY congressional seat

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U.S. House of Representatives/Julio Urrutia
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Political ads are one of the battlefields in many of the crucial midterm races for Congress this year, and the race for central New York's 24th Congressional District is no different.

Political ads from Democratic challenger Dana Balter and incumbent Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) are flooding local airways as Election Day approaches. One of the most controversial has been from the Katko camp, which accuses Balter of facing a tax lien when she lived in Florida.

The ad says that Balter face a warrant for not paying her taxes, while living in a "mansion" in Naples, Florida.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMGQNHh_3ng

Media fact checkers have found some of the claims in the spot are exaggerated. For example, Balter lived in a condo with her brother during her time in Florida.

But Katko defends the ad, noting that the fact she lived away from central New York is the point.

"Not only was she down there a couple of years, she was in Pennsylvania for three years," Katko said. "So during the time she’s making people believe she’s here, she wasn’t. So we were compelled to do that.”

Balter moved to Syracuse in 2003, but lived in family in Florida and Pennsylvania from 2007-2011 after suffering a concussion after a fall.

Katko said negative ads are just part of politics.

"Toward the end the gloves come off a bit, and I understand that," he said. "I’m a big boy, so our job is to talk about the record and point out inaccuracies and inconsistencies, that’s part of our job.”

Balter said she has tried to keep her ads focused on the issues.

"I do think it’s a challenge to maintain it. But that’s why I try to do it, because as a voter that’s what I want. And that’s what I hear from voters across the district who are sick of negative campaigning," said Balter.

She called Katko’s ads unfortunate.   

“Everything you see coming out of my campaign talks about policy issues, and talks about the job my opponent has done as a Congressman. Because that’s what the election is about. The ads he puts out don’t follow the same guidelines. I wish they would.”

Katko and Balter have agreed to hold four debates ahead of Election Day. The first will be held Wednesday, Oct. 24 and will be livestreamed by Syracuse.com