Bonus Weekly Wonk: The Town of Dewitt

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 The Town of Dewitt.

The Town of Dewitt has one race up this year, a single Town board member seat.  Normally towns elect their local offices on odd numbered years.  However last year then Town Board member Sam Young won an election to become Town Judge.  This meant he had to vacate his seat on the Town Board.  That created a to-fill vacancy on the Dewitt Town Board.  The election this year will be to fill Sam Young’s remaining term which ends in 2023.  This means whoever wins will have to run for re-election in 2023.  The Town Board nominated former Town Board member Jack Dooling to serve this year and he is running for election to fill the vacancy.

Outside of the City of Syracuse, Dewitt is the most reliable political subdivision.  The Town Supervisor, Town Clerk, all six Town Board Members, and one of the 2 Town Justices are all represented by Democrats.  When looking at the Town Makeup we can see why.  Democrats account for the plurality of voters at 41%.  Non-Enrolled voters, like Syracuse, ranks second at 29%.  The GOP is at just 25% of the enrollment.  For the purpose of regional breakdowns I will look at the county legislature districts that make up the town.  Dewitt is carved up into 4 county legislative districts.  50% of the voters reside in OCL 7 which includes East Syracuse, 28% is in OCL 12 which is the Jamesville Portion of Dewitt, 18% in OCL 17 which borders the southeastern corner of Syracuse, and a small 4% is in OCL 5 which is the Northwest corner of Dewitt.

Dewitt has had a rapid rise to becoming a solidly Democratic town.  In 2009, though Democrats had a plurality, this disparity between Democrats and GOP was just 550 votes.  Since 2009 Democrats have gained 1,220 voters while the GOP has lost 1,022 voters.  The Non-enrolled has gained 1,001 voters during that time as well.  In 2019 the non-enrolled overtook the GOP.  When this happens it typically means the party falling below the non-enrolled line is not competitive.  Since 2019 the only non-Democrat who has won Town office is David Gideon for a republican Town Justice in 2020 and Rocco Conte a registered Conservative who is the Highway Superintendent.  Both of whom are long term incumbents.

Dewitt is the only town in Onondaga County with 4 legislative zones.  This is despite their relatively small population.  The only legislative portion that has a GOP plurality is OCL5 which is paired with parts of Cicero and Salina in the lobster formation in the old maps.  OCL 7 is the largest portion and most Democratic as it encompasses East Syracuse as well as portions of the North side and southeast side of Syracuse.  OCL 17 is also a very Democratic district as it pairs the immediate southeastern suburbs in Dewitt with the 17th Ward in Syracuse.  Even the Jamesville portion of Dewitt represented in OCL 12 has a Democratic lean, though that portion is washed out in OCL 12 by the GOP southeastern towns.

In the top 5 comparative races we see dominant Democratic performance to go along with the registration.  All of the races the Democrat won by double digits and with over 50% of the vote. Dana Balter won Dewitt twice, in 2018 (+14.03%) & 2020 (+10.67%).  She did better in 2018 as there was a significant 3rd party vote in 2020 splitting off Democratic votes.  Governor Cuomo won the town of Dewitt by 14.88% in 2018.  President Biden dominated Dewitt winning by 31.75% points in 2020.  The best equivalent one on one race in Dewitt in recent memory is the Town Justice race in 2021.  The Democrat Sam Young won by 16.14% in a year where Democrats did not do well in Onondaga County. 

Jack Dooling will appear on the Democratic line for Town Board in 2022.  He is running against Jerry Nave, Jr. on the GOP line.  There are no minor party endorsements in this race. 

That does it for this bonus edition of the #WeeklyWonk.  This weekend I will look at the other Democratic town in Onondaga County, the Town of Manlius. I will then look at the towns of Onondaga & Pompey next week. Check back each week & subscribe to for all content and elections updates.

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