Wonky Wednesday:  The Town of Marcellus

Welcome back to Wonky Wednesday.  Each week I do a deep dive into the election and registration data that makes up the electoral landscape of our home, Onondaga County.  I hope by looking into this data we can glean that this everchanging county is not monolithic as once thought and competition for Democrats, and all registrations, can be found everywhere.  This week I investigate the Town of Marcellus.


The Town of Marcellus sits in the Southwest portion of Onondaga County.  The village of Marcellus sits in the northern part of the town surrounded by mostly farmland through the rest of the town.  Marcellus has generally been a GOP dominated town.  Recently though some Democrats have been able to win inside Town wide office.


Marcellus experienced the traditional vote population growth that a Presidential year will bring.  The village of Marcellus certainly has a more suburban feel then the rest of the town.  The southwest corner of the county of Onondaga has not seen the dramatic population growth that the northern and Eastern towns has seen.  This voter growth is probably more a sign of a more engaged populace rather than sign of overall population growth.


The current registration of the Town of Marcellus certainly shows a GOP dominated town.  Republicans make up 36% of the town with Democrats at 28% just barely outnumbers Non-enrolled (BLK) voters at 27%.  The town of Marcellus is one of the few towns that is not broken up by a county legislative district as the entire town is part of the 6th OCL seat represented by Julie Abbot-Keenan.  It does have 6 election districts which are somewhat similar in size that divides the town.


Since 2009 the GOP has been stagnate in the Town of Marcellus.  While continuing to dominate the registration it has seen a longer decline with a slight uptick during the Presidential Election of 2020.  Democrats on the other hand have seen some real growth during that time.  At one-point non-enrolled voters outnumbered Democrats but that started to reverse in 2016. Democratic enrollment has gained steadily each year since 2016 and now surpassed the Non-enrolled population. The Non-enrolled population is gaining as well though, just not as high of a rate.


Marcellus’s six election districts show a more nuanced breakdown then the overall voter registration may tell.  The village of Marcellus are represented by Eds 3 & 4.  Democrats outnumber GOP enrollments in these districts. The Village of Marcellus is roughly a little more than ¼ of the total population of the town.  The other 4 Election Districts represents the large rural areas of the town.  The GOP domination in those election districts usually gives them an edge in electoral contests.  That may be changing though.


The significant six races we are looking at to get a glimpse of how a town reacts electorally.  In 2019 to no surprise the GOP swept the three races with the County Executive race and County Clerk race giving the GOP candidates a healthy edge.  Masterpole’s ability to eat into those margins in his race for comptroller certainly helped in his razor close win.  2020 though Marcellus acted in an interesting way.  Certainly, the margin in the congressional race was expected with Katko pummeling Balter.  We see though John Mannion pulling slightly ahead of Renna in the race for SD 50 and Joe Biden won by over 8 points.  This may signal a start of Marcellus becoming more competitive for Democrats, or a onetime reaction to Donald Trump and a Trumpian candidate in Angie Renna.

The Town of Marcellus Democrats have chosen to nominate candidates by caucus in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic making petitioning problematic. Marcellus Supervisor and two Town Councilor positions are up.  Tammy Sayre has already announced she is running for re-election for Town Council and is the lone Democrat that has been elected town wide   If you wish to get involved with the Marcellus Democratic Committee contact chair Nancy Bunn at nbunn@twcny.rr.com and the Marcellus Democratic Committee can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MarcellusDemocraticCommittee

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