Wonky Wednesday:  The Town of Onondaga

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 Onondaga.


The Town of Onondaga sits just South west of the City of Syracuse. There are no established villages in Onondaga which is a rarity for the large towns of our county.  The areas in the north of the town that border Syracuse more resemble the suburban portions of our county but as you travel south it becomes more rural and agrarian.  The county’s only community college, Onondaga Community College, in many way ridges both sides of this town sitting in between these contrasting portions of this town.  There are 2 county legislative districts that cuts through this town, but one just barely.  


Onondaga like many suburban towns have seen a steady growth of enrolled voters over the last few years.  This is not just the normal growth all areas received in 2020 because of increased registration during the Presidential contest.  Increased rental and housing subdivisions seems to be driving the population increase. We will get more data later this year when the census is released as well.


The current registration of the Town of Onondaga shows a Town equally divided.  Democrats have a small plurality over the GOP.  Conservative enrollment though makes up that gap, for now.  A large portion of the town enrollment is not enrolled in a party. There are two county legislative districts in this town.  County Legislative district 11 represented by John McBride makes up a large portion of the town and goes over into Camillus.  County legislative district 15 represented by Bill Kinne represents a few northern election districts.


Since 2009 the GOP has had a steady slow decline in this town. This mirrors the declines we have seen in other large suburban towns across the county and our country. Democrats on the other hand started a rapid increase in registration since 2015.  These opposite dynamics increased through the 2020 election and into 2021. Non-enrolled voters have also increased in this town made up ox-pat Republicans and younger voters that tend to shed party labels when they first register.


The two county legislative district portions of this town also represent its division.  OCL 11 is basically an even district and makes up most of the town.  The northern districts in OCL 15 tend to be more Democratic. Though the OCL 11 district looks mostly drawn in a congruent shape it was an interesting decision to carve out a more Democratic piece in the north and replace it with a more moderate portion of Camillus.  


The significant six races we are looking at to get a glimpse of how a town reacts electorally show promise for Democrats looking to run in this town.  In the local year elections in 2019 we saw the typical results.  County Executive McMahon Had a commanding lead over his opponent.  County Clerk Dell’s race was closer.  However most surprising was the closeness of the County Comptroller race.  Masterpole came within just a point of Beadnell which contributed greatly to his win county wide.  In 2020 Katko dominated Balter but not as much as McMahon a year earlier. The NYS Senate Race Mannion outperformed the GOP Renna and Joe Biden won this town by double digits.  

The Town of Onondaga Democrats have chosen to nominate candidates by caucus in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic making petitioning problematic.  Supervisor, Clerk, Justice, 2 Town Councilors, Highway superintendent, and the receiver of taxes are all up for election in 2021.  If you wish to get involved with the Onondaga Democratic Committee contact chair Irene Workman at iworkman@twcny.rr.com and the Town of Onondaga Democratic Committee can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Town-of-Onondaga-Democrats-176112497354667.

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