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Conole concedes to Balter in primary for CNY congressional seat

Balter/Conole campaigns

Francis Conole conceded to Dana Balter Thursday in the Democratic primary for the 24th Congressional District. Balter will now face Rep. John Katko in November, a rematch from 2018.

Conole trailed Balter 62-34% after all ballots from in-person and early voting were counted Tuesday. Conole didn't concede, because there are more than 30,000 absentee ballots to count. But Conole said Thursday he called Balter to concede. He also threw his support behind Balter.

"Now is the time for our party and our community to come together and unite behind Dana Balter," Conole said in a statement. "Only together can we defeat Congressman John Katko and Donald Trump in November and bring the true change we need to central New York."

Balter, in a statement released Thursday evening, thanked Conole and congratulated him on running a strong campaign.

"I look forward to working with Francis and his supporters in the weeks and months ahead to beat John Katko," she said.

Katko, running for his fourth term in Congress, is facing Balter for the second straight election. He won by just five percentage points in 2018, his closest race since first being elected.

Turnout for this primary is the highest in nearly 40 years. More than 17,000 people voted early or in-person on Tuesday. With another 30,000 absentee ballots to count, that puts turnout for this race at about 31%.

"The incredible turnout in this election, by mail and in-person, is a sign that voters are ready for change this November," Balter said. "The people of the 24th District are ready to move past Donald Trump’s failed leadership and replace his enablers in Congress like John Katko."

Jason has served as WRVO's news director in some capacity since August 2017. As news director, Jason produces hourly newscasts, and helps direct local news coverage and special programming. Before that, Jason hosted Morning Edition on WRVO from 2009-2019. Jason came to WRVO in January of 2008 as a producer/reporter. Before that, he spent two years as an anchor/reporter at WSYR Radio in Syracuse.