Wonky Wednesday:  The Town of Camillus


Welcome back to Wonky Wednesday where I dive into the registration and election data that makes up the County of Onondaga.  For the next few months I will be taking a look at the individual 19 Towns of Onondaga.  This week I focus on the Town of Camillus.  Located in the Northwest corner of our county the Town of Camillus is one of the growing suburban towns that is helping to redfine the partisanship of Onondaga County.  Represented by three different County leg districts despite it’s small size, it is also part of the redistricting conversations we will have later this fall.


The growth of the Town of Camillus voting population is obvious in this slide.  The registration tools that have been passed since 2016 has resulted in a higher percentage of the Camillus voting eligible population to register, and remain registered.  They are also benefitting from the phenomenon of the growing suburban trend as families and professionals tend to choose to locate there instead of stagnate populations in Syracuse and rural towns.


It may surprise some to find out that the Town of Camillus is basically even in party enrollment.  Democrats nearly have caught the GOP in this once dominant GOP town.  However as Conservatives still out number Working Families parrty so there will remain an advantage for conservative Republicans in the town, however slight, for the time being.  Camillus is one of only two towns to portion themselves into wards for electing their town board candidates as opposed to all running at large.  There are 6 wards in the Town of Camillus ranging from 2700 voters to 3500 voters.  This makes it a little easier to run for Town Board as running at large can often be daunting.


There is some variation within the wards.  Ward 1 & 2 have a decidedly republican advantage.  Likewise Ward 4 & 4 Democrats have an enrollment advantage.  Wards 5 & 6 are virtually tied.  Despite some advantages in a few wards Democrats are not represented on the Town Board.  Dick Griffo in Ward 5 has run with Democratic support.  However currently no Democrats serve in town government.


Like all the towns overall Camillus is getting bluer.  A dramatic increase in Democratic Voter Registration since 2016 is a similar tale throughout most of Onondaga County and it is true here as well.  Republican enrollment has fallen slightly allowing Democrats to be on the verge of catching up.  Non-Enrolled voters are the key to future Democratic victories.  A coalition of left leaning non-enrolled as well as increasing Democratic turnout is the correct recipe for candidates for local office.


In fact we already see that coalition helping in recent races.  For all my town analysis I will be looking at 6 races over the last two elections and how the town has supported candidates.  in 2019 I look at the County Executive (GOP Lean) County Clerk (Middle of the road) and County Comptroller (Democratic Win)/  In 2020 I look at Congress (GOP win), NYS Senate (middle of the road) and Presidential contest (Lean Democrat).  This allows us to see how the town reacts in a low turnout year and a high turnout year.

What skews the results here are the residences of some of the sample candidates.  In fact Kolinski, Beadnell, Katko, and Mannion all reside in Camillus.  Still we saw that Camillus almost went blue in the comptroller race despite the residence of Beadnell.  Surely when a strong GOP candidate runs as in the 2019 CE and 2020 Congressional race the town still reverts to it’s GOP roots.  However its close race for 2019 comptroller shows the Town has a swing vote component to it.  The strong support for Mannion and Biden also shows that strong Democrats with resources can further tap into that swing vote.

In 2021 the Supervisor, the Town Clerk, all 6 Town Board members, and Highway Superintendent are on the ballot.  Democrats fill these offices by caucus and have until mid July to hold a caucus.  Interested candidates should contact Town Chair Diane Dwire about either joining the Camillus Town Democratic committee or running for office.  She can be found at dmd07@aol.com and the Camillus Democratic Committee can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/camillusdemocrats

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