Wonky Wednesday:  Town of Otisco

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 Otisco.


The Town of Otisco sits just south of the Town of Onondaga near the center bottom of our County.  There are no established villages in Otisco nor are there any defined suburban areas. This is mostly an agricultural rural town with some clusters of housing along Otisco Lake which may not necessarily be full time residential properties.  It is also one of the few towns that are wholly located in a County Legislative District (6) which is currently represented by Julie Abbott-Keenan (R).  There are two election districts that basically split the town into western and eastern halves


The overall population of the town of Otisco is very small. It is the second smallest town in terms of voter population in our County.  How small is it?  It is smaller than 16 of the 19 Wards inside the City of Syracuse in terms of registered voters.  This makes it the 5th smallest political subdivision in Onondaga County. And it doesn’t look like the population is increasing either.  Normal voter registration rises in the 2020 election appear but it is not likely a long term trend population trend.  It is more likely a result of the normal registration rates rising during Presidential years.


The current registration of the Town of Otisco shows a solidly GOP dominated town.  Republicans make up 45% of the town with Democrats at 23%.  Non-enrolled (BLK) voters outnumber Democrats with 25%.  The two Election Districts are not quite equal in size.  ED 2 is smaller in area but has more of the housing developments as it is the western portion of the town near the lake.  ED 1 is the more agrarian eastern portion of town.


The partisan population in this small town has been relatively stable since 2009.  The GOP has remained at the same level nearly doubling the Democratic enrollment. Democrats have had a mini surge since 2016 but it is not even enough to overtake the Non-enrolled.  Finally the non-enrolled has also remained stable just outnumbering the GOP.


The election districts in Otisco are relatively similar in terms of partisan enrollment as well.  ED 1 the GOP doubles the Democrat enrollment.  ED 2 is a little less GOP dominant but not by much.  However what little difference there is doesn’t really matter as every elected office in this town runs town wide.  In fact if the election district sizes were ever to be raised Otisco might be a town where we consider only having one election district in it.


The significant six races we are looking at really drives home the fact that this is as strong a GOP town as it gets.  In 2019 all three races, County Executive, County Clerk, and County Comptroller the GOP candidate crushed the opposition.  In fact Beadnell and Dell doubled up their opponents while McMahon failed to do that, barely.  In 2020 in a heavy Democratic year the GOP candidates had double digit wins in each race.  Only Joe Biden could crack 40% in this town.  Democrats only hope of winning in this area is to connect with non-enrolled voters, form a coalition, and hope for a local issue to rally around.

The Town of Otisco Democrats nominates their candidates by caucus. For such a small town Otisco actually has a good deal of races up this year.  They will elect Supervisor, Clerk, three Town Councilors, Highway Superintendent, and tax assessors. If you are interested in any of these positions contact Otisco Democratic Town Chair Toby Shelley at toby_shelley@yahoo.com

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