Wonky Wednesday:  The Town of Skaneateles

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 Skaneateles.


The Town of Skaneateles sits in the Southwestern corner of our county wrapping around the northern half of Skaneateles Lake.  While many people think of the village of Skaneateles when talking about the town, it is worth noting that it has a wide diversity of geography.  In addition to the bustling village there are large mansions on the lake as well as many rural agricultural areas of the town.  


The overall population of the town of Skaneateles is definitely in the smaller side but it is growing.  General population shifts and more housing could be part of the growth. Just as likely are the easier voter registration tools since 2016 allowing some of the population to stay registered and active.  2020 saw a huge registration surge in this town as well which is typical for a Presidential year.


The current registration of the Town of Skaneateles shows a solid GOP town.  Republicans make up 39% of the town with Democrats at 30%.  Non-enrolled (BLK) voters makeup 24% of the town.  Skaneateles is all contained within the 6th County Legislative district so we will be looking at the 8 Election Districts that divide the town.  The two largest Election Districts, 2 & 4, make up the village of Skaneateles while the rest of the town is in less populous but larger area Election Districts.


Democrats have been making solid gains on the GOP.  A steady increase in Democratic enrollment is starting to change the makeup of this town.  Combine that with a slight decrease in GOP enrollment that really cuts into the lead the GOP has seen in this town.  Rising numbers in the non-enrolled registrants provides an opportunity for Democrats.  IF they can piece together a coalition of non-enrolled voters they could on occasion compete in town wide races.  


The election districts in Skaneateles provide an example of the dichotomy of this changing town.  EDs 2 & 4 makeup the village of Skaneateles where Democrats have seen the most gains.  In the village Democrats have drawn near even with Republicans.  The other election districts either represent more affluent areas or rural communities.  There Democrats still trail by quite a bit.  


The significant six races provide some surprises in this reliably red town.  In 2019 the GOP candidates for County Executive, County Clerk, and County Comptroller had solid margins of victory in this town.  The same dynamic happened in 2020 with Congress with Katko winning a sizable share.  However the State Senate race was under 1.5% difference, virtually tied, in the town of Skaneateles.  Most surprising is that Biden won by over 13 points.  While there is a conservative lean to this town they will reject more Trumpian candidates if there is a coalition of Democrats and Non-enrolled working together.

The Town of Skaneateles Democrats nominates their candidates by caucus. They will elect their Supervisor, Clerk, two town councilors, highway superintendent, and Tax Collector in 2021. If you are interested in getting involved or running for office contact Skaneateles Town Democratic Chair Alan Johnson at alanartjohnson310@gmail.com.

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