Wonky Wednesday:  NY Senate 50th District


As a service to provide information to the voters of Onondaga County I present my fourth installment of Wonky Wednesday.  Each Wednesday I am going to do a post on my Tumble blog focusing on registration data in Onondaga County.  The last 4 years have proven to reshape Onondaga County and New York State. These changes have made Democrats more competitive in traditionally Republican areas.  This series is meant to show how these demographics will shape the upcoming November election.


This week we dive into the open seat for the NY Senate 50.  This is the companion seat to our senate seat, NY 53 held by Rachel May that I highlighted last week.  This seat was drawn in 2012 to protect then incumbent John DeFrancisco (R).  In his memoir he detailed how he intentionally altered the lines on this district to make sure his eventual successor, Bob Antonocci the sitting County comptroller, was drawn into the district.  Upon his Defrancisco’s retirement Antonocci did win a very tight race to win the seat, however less than 8 months into his first term Antonocci ran again for Supreme Court Justice, thus abandoning the seat.  The seat was set for a special election in April which was moved and then cancelled because of the COVID-19 crisis.


John Mannion is the Democratic candidate for the 50th NYS Senate seat.  He was a first time candidate in 2018 when he was selected to run against Bo Antonocci.  Despite being a heavy money underdog and first time candidate, he came with the absentee margin of winning the NY Senate seat.  A teacher and union president at West Genesee High school in Camillus he is mounting a second run.  He will be a formidable opponent and has a real chance of winning this seat and joining the Democratic Majority in the NYS Senate.


His opponent is Angie Renna.  This is Ms. Renna’s first run for public office.  She is a financial planner and is running a campaign focused on ultra conservative positions on social and financial issues.  The seat has historically been seen as a GOP seat and that is what she will be leaning on to win.


While #NY50 was drawn to be a GOP held seat the dynamic changes in enrollment in Central New York.  In 2018 Democrats started to outnumber republicans in the district for the first time. That trend, which took a dramatic turn after the 2016 election, continues.  In 2020 Democrats have a growing plurality.  Democrats have 34% of the registered voters to 32% of GOP.  This seat is now one of the most competitive seats in NY State and its even registration is one of the big reasons why.


Unlike the other Senate seat, Syracuse is only a small portion of the seat.  In fact the only reason it is part of it was to encompass John DeFrancisco’s former residence on the North side.  This seat is more about suburban towns versus the more rural districts.  The Democratic towns of Dewitt and Manlius will look to counteract the more GOP towns of Lysander and rural parts of the district.  The keys to victory will be in towns that have a more even partisan lean:  Clay, Camillus, Onondaga, and the towns in Cayuga and Auburn.


John Mannion will need to capitalize on the increase in Democratic registration as well as turnout. Democrats have increased their plurality by 3500 voters since the last election, which should help to eliminate the deficit that Mannion had on the 2018 election of 2332.  However the real key will be winning the voters over who only vote in Presidential elections.  22116 more voters voted in the 2016 Senate race when DeFrancisco was uncontested because of the Presidential election.  Even more is expected this year.


John Mannion was a recent guest on Zoom with Czarny series.  You can watch the town hall here or listen to it on Spotify.  If you want to help his campaign do so by visiting https://www.mannionforstatesenate.com/

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