Juanita Perez Williams expected to run for Congress

Juanita Perez Williams (CNYCentral File Photo)

After losing her bid for Syracuse mayor six months ago, former Democratic candidate Juanita Perez Williams is expected to run for Congress.

According to former Onondaga County Chairwoman Diane Dwyer, Perez Williams was expected to announce her candidacy for New York's 24th Congressional District seat on Tuesday night.

Dwyer reiterated that the Onondaga Democratic Committee has already endorsed Syracuse University professor Dana Balter to challenge Republican incumbent Rep. John Katko in November. Balter won the party's endorsement back in February, meaning Perez Williams will run a primary against Balter. The winner of the June 26 primary will then be the Democrats' standard bearer to challenge Katko this fall.

Former Mayor Stephanie Miner, who is still eyeing a bid for New York governor, considered running for the congressional seat, but ultimately decided against it in January.

Perez Williams' entry into the race comes just on the heels of a deadline to run for the office. Petition signatures to get on the ballot for that race are due on April 12.

A former member of Stephanie Miner's administration, Perez Williams defeated party favorite Joe Nicoletti for the Democratic nomination for Syracuse mayor in 2017, but lost to independent candidate Ben Walsh by 16 points in the general election.

Perez Williams also served five years in the Navy Judge Advocates Program (JAGC) where she handled high profile criminal cases, attaining the rank of lieutenant commander, and then served as associate dean of students at Syracuse University.

The 24th Congressional District is made up of Onondaga, Cayuga, Wayne and part of Oswego counties. Rep. John Katko was first elected in 2014.

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