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Oswego, Cayuga and Wayne county Democrats endorse Deacon, Williams

Payne Horning
Democratic candidates for New York's 24th Congressional District - Eric Kingson, left, Colleen Deacon and Steve Williams - participated in a forum in Auburn, moderated by the Cayuga County Democratic Party Chair Ian Phillips, right.

In a tie vote, the Democratic parties in Oswego, Cayuga and Wayne counties decided to endorse two of the three Democratic candidates in the race for New York's 24th Congressional district. 

Colleen Deacon, a single mother and former regional director for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Steve Williams, a lawyer and veteran, won support from the three counties' committees Wednesday night following a forum in Auburn. The third candidate in the race, Syracuse University professor Eric Kingson, was not endorsed.

Cayuga County Democratic Party Chair Ian Phillips said the decision was made after three rounds of voting that ended with a tie between Deacon and Williams.

"We did not choose to do a coin flip like they do in Iowa," Phillips said, referencing the delegate distribution process in the Iowa caucuses that in some cases was determined by tossing a coin. "We decided to come out and tell the world we think we have two extremely qualified candidates that will both be well situated to defeat John Katko in November."

Oswego County Democratic Chair Gordon Prosser said the committees chose Deacon and Williams because of their background experiences and perceived likelihood of defeating incumbent Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus). Ultimately, though, the candidate who wins the party's nomination will be decided by voters in a June primary.

This is the latest in a string of endorsements for Deacon, who has support from Syarcuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, Senators Gillibrand and Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Syracuse Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli. Deacon said the endorsements show that there is momentum building for her campaign.

"People know the work that I've done in this region," Deacon said. "They know my personal story. They know that I've been able to really get things done here in this area."

Deacon emphasized those endorsements during the forum, saying it would be an asset to her campaign.

"I can raise the money to win this seat," Deacon said. "I have the support. I have people who I can call on who will help me win this race."

Williams, who repeatedly referred to the race as a job interview, told the audience that they should be concentrating on the candidates' experience, not their references.

"Is that what it takes to represent this district - connections? Hmm. I don't think that's right," Williams said. "I don't think how many connections somebody has anything to do with how effective a leader they will be."

However, Kingson said both of his opponents are part of the establishment, which he thinks will help him stand out in the race.

"I don't have core establishment support and that's OK," Kingson said. "I believe in what I'm doing and I also believe this is a time where the public wants something different."

The Onondaga County Democratic Party is expected to weigh in on the race next week.