Wonky Wednesday:  The Town of Lafayette


Welcome back to my Wonky Wednesday series where I dive into the election and registration data that makes up the electoral landscape of Onondaga County.  This week I take a look at the agrarian town of Lafayette.  This small town is the host of one of our Early Voting sites and south of Syracuse.  It is one of only four towns in our county that does not have a village nor is split up by County Legislature districts.  This makes the town hard to dissect for campaigns and candidates.


The Town of Lafayette voter enrollment was basically stagnate over the last decade.  There was a moderate bump in voter enrollment that plateaued in 2016.  We saw a much greater bump this last year in enrollment.   When the Census data is released it will be interesting to see whether this reflected a population shift or just non registered voters taking advantage of better access to voter registration options.


The Town of Lafayette is a comfortably GOP town.  Democrats actually are outnumbered by the non-enrolled in this town.  When you throw in the Conservative numbers and virtual non-existent WFP party the ideological divide becomes more of a chasm. There are 5 election districts in Lafayette that are relatively even in size.


Republican enrollments in the town had been receding or stagnate since 2009.  Non-enrolled and Democrats were closing the gap on the GOP until 2020. In 2020 GOP Dems and N/e all increased their voter enrollment at the same rate.  There has been some slippage by the GOP post election but we really won’t know whether that means anything until the summer as more registrations are processed.


None of the election districts of Lafayette really stand out as sources for Democratic votes.  .  The 3rd election district is the largest and represents the center of town where 81 exits into the Rt 20 the main drag of the town of Lafayette.  EDS 1 2 & 5 are more rural representing the farms and orchards of the town.  ED 4 near Jamesville Reservoir is slightly more suburban then the rest of the town.  Of those ED 4 is the place where Democrats are closest to the GOP, but even there the gap is substantial.


The election results of our significant six races are not typical of other areas of town.  In 2019 County Executive McMahon actually ran behind the County clerk race indicating another place where more rural voters were not as trustful of the CE.  County Comptroller Masterpole ran surprisingly well given the partisan lean of the town.  Interesting in 2020 Senator Rachel May out performed Joe Biden in the district. This indicates to me a form of negative partisanship permeates the electorate but Democrats can cut into the margins if they are local and known to the populace.

The best hopes for Democratic success in Lafayette is to appeal to the large and growing non-enrolled community and look for local issues to rally around.  In 2021 the town of Lafayette has the following up for election: Supervisor, 3 Town Councilors, Highway Superintendent, and Tax Collector.  The Lafayette Democratic Committee appoints candidates by caucus. IF you are interested contact the chair Bruce Donahue at bpdcpa@twcny.rr.com and the Lafyette Democratic Committee can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/lafaydems

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