The Weekly Wonk: NY Senate District #50

Welcome to the #weeklywonk. This is my weekly blog about statistics, registration data, and election law on my website, This is a rebrand of my #wonkywednesday and #sundaythoughts columns I have been writing since 2020. In merging these two side projects together I am hoping to be a little more regular in my production. I have also not tied myself to a particular day to release these columns, hoping to release them weekly on the weekend. This way I can have more time to gather the statistics and resources that I want to devote to these articles. This week I examine New York Senate District #50.

Redistricting brought a great deal of change to the New York Senate districts. Senator Mannion’s #SD50 district, like May’s #SD48. The old #SD50 nearly encircled the City of Syracuse starting in the towns of Dewitt and Manlius and grabbing all of the Western Half of Onondaga with a few towns in Cayuga and just parts of the City of Auburn and Syracuse. The new #SD50 is a radically different district. It did keep the towns Clay, Dewitt, Geddes, & Manlius in Onondaga County and added Salina & Cicero. It lost all of the rest of Onondaga County and Cayuga county areas. The Special Master decided to stretch this district north and pick up the entire southern half of the county of Oswego including the cities of Oswego and Fulton.

The redistricting created one of the most competitive Senate districts in the state. Republicans have a slight edge in the district with 33% of the enrollment followed closely by Democrats with 32% of the district.  The Non-enrolled are a close third with 28% of the vote setting up one of the more closely divided districts in the Senate. This seat is divided into two counties, but not equally. Onondaga dominates the district with 74% of the registered voters, but Oswego at 26% can still have sway in the district.

Redistricting drastically altered not only the regional makeup of the district, but the partisan lean as well. IF we look at the old #SD50 it was a district that started with a decided GOP lean in 2012 for incumbent John DeFrancisco. However, since then Democrats not only grew but in 2018 surpassing the GOP which led to the election of John Mannion in 2020. However, with the stroke of a pane the Special Master totally reversed and reset the partisan makeup of the district. From 2012 to 2021 Democrats gained 9,784 voters while the GOP lost 1,647 voters, and the non-enrolled gained 9,749 voters. As discussed before all upstate districts needed to ad population as they were artificially kept low to try and cement GOP rule. The Special Master added 8,334 GOP voters to the district while only adding 3,688 N/E and just 358 Democratic voters. An argument can be made this was the most dramatic change in all Senate districts in New York.

There are just two distinct areas in this district, but they are wildly different. The Onondaga Portion of the district has a decided Democratic edge, in fact the non-enrolled voters are remarkably close to overtaking the GOP. The opposite is true in the Oswego portion as the GOP dominates and the non-enrolled threaten to overtake the Democrats. If past trends continue the Onondaga portion will get bluer over the ten years and Oswego will get more red. However, since Onondaga is the substantial portion of the district, we could see Democratic registration rise over the life of the district as the last version of this district did.

It is even harder to get comparative races for this district then #SD48. Instead of doing five comparative races I have had to pare down to four. I am not studying the 2020 congressional race in the district since the Oswego portion of the district was made up of two different congressional races and the comparison would be so different as not to have any weight. Like #SD48, I throw in the results from the last two races John Mannion was in. He lost 2018 by 1.9 points and won in 2020 by 4.96 points. Remember these results are under the old district lines. If the 2020 election were run under the new lines, Joe Biden would have won the district by 7.20 points. Likewise, if the 2018 Governor’s race were run under the new lines Molinaro would have won the new district by 5.78 points.

If we want to extrapolate how Mannion might perform in the new district we can look at the differences in the new and old districts in the Presidential and Governor’s race. In 2020 in the old district, according to New York Redistricting and You, Biden won the district by 13.2 points, six points more than the new district. Mannion won the old district by 4.96 points indicating a tighter race than 2020. According to the New York State Board of Elections Molinaro won the old #SD50 by 1.86 points which was similar the number Mannion lost by (1.9%). However, in 2018 Mannion was a first-time candidate against the well-known Onondaga County Comptroller Robert Antonacci. Mannion is an incumbent with 6 years of running in the Onondaga County portion of the district. Bottomline, all indications are this is a winnable seat for the Democratic incumbent but will be a tight race.

Senator John Mannion (D) is running for re-election in #SD48. He will appear on the Democratic and Working Families Party Line. He has served in the NY State Senate since 2020. He is running against Rebecca Shiroff (R) who appears on the Republican and Conservative line. Shiroff lost a race for Manlius Town Councilor in 2021 and was the campaign manager for Angi Renna who lost to John Mannion in 2020. Renna has gone on to join the Trump-esque “NY Citizens Audit” and become one of New York’s most public election deniers.

That does it for this edition of the #weeklyWonk. Next week I look at doing the towns of Onondaga that are having races this year. I will start off with the towns of Dewitt and Manlius next week. I will then look at Onondaga, & Pompey the next week. Check back each week & subscribe to for all content and elections updates.

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