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 start my #Fliptheleg series looking at each of the 17 Onondaga County Legislative races. Today I look at Onondaga County Legislative seat #10 wholly contained in the middle to Southeast corner of the Town of Manlius.
This was virtually unchanged from the 2010 version of the seat. At the time of redistricting Kevin Holmquist (R) was the incumbent legislator. Kevin was a former Minoa village board member, so it made sense that the only change the GOP majority on the redistricting commission made was to add more of the village of Minoa into the district avoiding the weird shapes many other districts fell victim to. They also added portions of the village of Manlius into the district as well so it was completely in the district. The district was already a solid GOP district and it didn’t need a shape change to give the GOP an advantage.
The district though has changed significantly. Once a solid red district, Democrats have now taken a sizeable plurality. Democrats account for 36% of the district while Republicans make up just 29%. Non-enrolled voters account for 28% of the registered voters coming within a couple hundred voters of overtaking the GOP. Since this district is totally inside one town we have to look at other ways to glean information. Luckily this district is the only one with 3 individual villages inside of it. The villages of Fayetteville (15%), Minoa (10%), & Manlius (15%) make up 10% of the voting population of the district.
There is no district that has changed as drastically from 2011 as this one. The 10th district, like Manlius as a whole, is the perfect example of what has happened to the suburbs nationwide as Democrats have grown in strength and popularity during the Trump era. Democrats have gained 1,748 voters since 2011 while the GOP has lost 867 voters. The non-enrolled has gained the most though by increasing its population by 1,153 voters. This has flipped this district on its head. Where the GOP once had a 1,015 voter lead, the Democrats now hold an amazing 1600 voter lead.
The three villages are as a whole are slightly more Democratic than the rest of this district. The village voters are 37.9% Democratic where the rest of the district is just 35.4% Democratic. Still even inside the villages there are differences with Fayetteville being the most Democratic at 40.6%, followed by the village of Manlius at 38.4%, and village of Minoa 33.1%. This makes Minoa one of the least Democratic areas in the district, though all 4 areas we are looking at lean Democratic like the district as a whole.
In 2011 Kevin Holmquist (R) was challenged by Gwen Mannion (D). It was a hard fought race however Holmquist survived by 578 votes. The Democrats than took two cycles off not challenging this seat in 2013 and 2015. However in the wake of the 2016 election the Manlius Democratic committee had a resurgence of new activists working along with established committee members. This resulted in full town slates including on the County legislative level. Mark Matt (D) ran in 2017 & 2019 against Kevin Holmquist (R). Though Matt lost by 141 and 340 votes they were within the absentee ballot marker. Another indication of how well the Democrats were performing was winning town wide seats in 2017 and 2019. Finally in all three contested races the Democrats ran even or better than the GOP on straight up party line comparison with the 3rd party votes putting Holmquist over the top.
The comparative races are our best indication of a district primed for movement. Though in 2019 it did support Ryan McMahon it was only by a little over 3 points. The county Clerk race was virtually tied at .24% difference, and Masterpole really performed well here beating Beadnell by over 6 points. All 3 races performed better than the county averages. The Democrats really cleaned up in this district in 2020 with Balter almost having a 2 point lead on Katko making this one of her better suburban districts. John Mannion trounced Angie Renna by over 14 points, and President Biden almost had a 26 point lead over Trump. The residents of this district are consistently voting Democrat by larger shares than the county as a whole.
Heather Allison Waters (D) is the Democratic candidate for this district. She was part of the 2019 Democratic wave that took control of Town Government and was the highest vote getter. Kevin Holmquist (R) has decided not to run making this an open seat. With the voting history and strength of the Democratic candidate this is certainly a prime seat to watch for a possible flip. Heather can be found at Facebook https://www.facebook.com/electheatherwaters & Twitter https://twitter.com/ElectWaters