Weekly Wonk: The Town of Onondaga

Welcome to the #WeeklyWonk. This is my weekly blog about statistics, registration data, and election law on my website, dustinczarny.com. 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 Onondaga.

Like Dewitt & Manlius, The Town of Onondaga has one race up this year, a single Town board member seat. Normally towns elect their local offices on odd numbered years. Like Manlius, John Mahar a sitting Town Councilor John Mahar ran in 2021 for Town Supervisor. He was unopposed and won the seat which created the opening in this year’s race to fill the vacancy of the town Board seat. The all-GOP Town Board appointed someone to serve this year, but he has a Democratic challenger. The winner of this year’s race will have to run again next year.

Onondaga is one of the newer towns to have a Democratic plurality. The emerging Democratic influence in the town as of yet has not produced an electoral victory but the Town Committee is energized and working. Democrats represent 33% of the town registered voters, followed closely by the GOP (31%) and closely in third the non-enrolled at 29%. It is about as even a split as any town in Onondaga County. The Town is broken up into two different County legislative district. OCL 15 which makes up 11% of the district consists of connective eds bordering the City of Syracuse and stretching to Manlius. The rest of the town (89%) is located in OCL 11.

The Town of Onondaga is the perfect example of the Trump effect on suburban communities. From 2009 to 2015 we did see a small decline in GOP enrollment, but the Democratic enrollment was stagnant. That was all supercharged in 2016 with the candidacy and election of Donald Trump. Since 2009 the Democrats have gained 942 voters while the GOP have lost 543 voters. The Non-enrolled also saw their numbers increase in a similar pattern, gaining 921 voters since 2009.

The two legislative districts work to separate the Democratic near suburbs from the rest of the town. OCL 15 has a decided Democratic makeup with non-enrolled actually outnumbering the GOP. OCL 11 is a split district with near equal enrollment for the Democrats and GOP and the Non-enrolled are not far behind. This will all change with redistricting, but this is what the GOP had in mind when they segmented this town in 2011.

In the top five comparative races we see this town while close in Democratic enrollment, it only seems to be evident in national elections. President Biden won this town by 11.96 points. However, John Katko who resides in nearby Camillus, won this town by 14.22% in 2020 and 12.10 in 2018. The GOP candidate for Governor in 2018 Marc Molinaro won it by 5.19% but that is below how he performed in other towns in Onondaga County. There are no real local races to look at as the town board and town wide positions were uncontested in 2019 & 2021. However, when we look at the Brindisi Fogel race for Supreme Court, we see that in low turnout elections this town is solidly GOP as Fogel won by 8.28% here despite losing the county overall.

Ryan Suser is running on the Democratic and Working Families line for Town Board in 2022. He is running against John Wheatley who will appear on the GOP and Conservative line. Wheatley sits on the Town Board because of his appointment to fill the vacancy earlier in the year.

That does it for this edition of the #WeeklyWonk. Next week I will attempt to do two #weeklyWonks again. The Towns of Pompey (Wednesday), and a quick look at Onondaga County as a whole (Sunday) for the last investigations before the General Election. Check back each week & subscribe to dustinczarny.com for all content and elections updates.

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