Welcome to Wonky Wednesday where each week I delve into the registration and election data that makes up the electoral makeup of Onondaga County. This week we dive into the big boy, the Town of Clay. Clay represents the biggest town in Onondaga County and is only second in population to the City of Syracuse. This growing northern town has a changing demographic population but is solidly represented by GOP office holders from top to bottom. IN many ways it is a symbol for Democrats opportunities and struggles outside the City of Syracuse.
Like with all registration data in Onondaga County the Town of Clay has seen steady growth in its registration numbers over the last 12 years. This growth accelerated in 2016 and really kicked into overdrive last year. Clay is one of the largest growing town in Onondaga County and the ease in which you can register, and stay registered, to vote really helps a suburban town grow their numbers.
Clay has a Democratic plurality in its voting population. 34% of the registered voters are Democratic while 20% are GOP and 28% blank or non-enrolled. The Town of Clay is so large that it wholly encompasses 2 county legislative districts and part of a 3rd. County Legislative District 1 has a few election districts on the western border with Lysander. County Legislator 2 makes up the rest of the western half of Clay and County Legislature 14 makes up the eastern half of the town.
Clay has followed the overall trend of surging Democratic enrollment and a stagnate GOP population and booming non-enrolled voters. When looked at since 2009 Democrats Have overtaken the GOP and have widened the margin. In 2020 Republicans surged a bit in registrations matching the Democrats for the first time. Non-enrolled voters continue to out pace the growth of Democrats and GOP. Future victories by Democrats will need to take into account not just the enrollment gap but growing non-enrolled as well.
The three county legislature districts inside Clay also have Democratic pluralities, despite being represented by GOP legislators for years. OCL 1 represented by Brian May only has a portion of Clay, OCL 2 is represented by Jim Rawley, the former supervisor of Clay. OCL 14 is now as of the time writing this vacant. Casey Jordan took a job with County Law Department and left his office this week. The County Executive has yet to anoint a replacement. We can see here that Clay tends to get more Republican as it goes west towards Cicero. Still both legislative seats should be competitive this fall.
Finally we see that Clay performs better for Democrats when there is higher turnout. In our significant six races the town certainly voted GOP in all 3 races in 2019 though Masterpole performed better then his Democratic line mates. Mannion and Biden both won clay by significant margins. Balter continued to perform worse then her counterparts but if the significant portion of voters that voted on WFP line were added to her total it wouldn’t be as bad. Democrats must convince their electorate that it is important to show up in off election years for hopes of winning in Clay this year.
In the town of Clay in 2021 the supervisor, Clerk, 3 Town Board Members, and the receiver of taxes are up for election. All positions are held by Republicans. The Town of Clay Democratic Committee is recruiting candidates and will appoint them via caucus by July. Those interested in running or helping or even joining the Clay Democratic Committee should contact Clay Democratic Committee Chair Nancy Kinnetz at email@example.com.