The Weekly Wonky: The Town of Manlius

Welcome back to the #WeeklyWonk. Each weekend I release an article on a subject relating to elections in Onondaga County and New York State. Often these articles will have detailed stats to consume but sometimes they will be a recap of a prominent issue or on relevant election law. I am turning my eye to the 2023 elections. This week I take a break from looking at the political subdivisions and focus on a work item from the Onondaga County Board of elections. Today I look at the Town of Manlius, the belle weather town of Onondaga County.

The Town of Manlius sits in the eastern most portion of the County.  The Town of Manlius has emerged as one of the more Democratic Towns of Onondaga County, but it is also become a reflection of Onondaga County itself.  The Town of Manlius is the third largest town in Onondaga County with 24,711 trailing only the Town of Clay, Cicero and the City of Syracuse. The makeup of Manlius is 36% Democrat (8,924 Voters), 28% GOP (7,057 Voters), and 29% non-Enrolled (7,144 voters).  This is very similar to Onondaga County as a whole ((38% Dem, 27% GOP, 28% N/E).  For such a large town to dissect it I am breaking it up into 7 different regions.  The three villages Fayetteville, Manlius, and Minoa and Northern, Eastern, Southern and Western election districts makeup the regional analysis. 

In a new feature I am bringing to the #weeklywonk this year I am doing a heat map for each political subdivision.  I will be looking at the current partisan makeup of each individual ED and heat mapping its partisan lean based on the advantage for the Democrats and GOP.  We can see in this heat map Manlius transformation to a Democratic town is almost total. Out of the 33 election districts only 2 EDS (10 & 15) lean GOP while 3 more (1,9, & 33) have slight GOP leans.  28 of the 33 Eds have Democratic leans.  4 EDS (19, 22, 24, & 30) have slight Democratic leans, 11 eds (2,3,11,12,18, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, & 32) have normal Democratic leans, 11 eds (4,6,7,8, 13, 14, 16, 17, 20, 23, & 31) have solid Democratic leans, and 2 Eds (5 & 21) have strong Democratic leans. The other map is the new OCL 10 that shifted the legislative district north away from the village of Manlius and some Southern EDs.

Since 2009 The Town of Manlius has undergone a major transformation.  This once very red town in just 14 years has done a 190 degree turn in partisan registration.  Since 2009 the Democrats have gained 1814 Democratic voters.  The Non-enrolled have also gained at nearly the same rate of Democrats, gaining 1,338 voters.  The GOP on the other hand during that time frame has lost 1472 voters.  This not only resulted in a lead change with Democrats vaulting into first, the GOP in 2023 has fallen to third place.  While the Democratic gains mainly happened as a reaction to the Trump years of 2015-2020 and leveled off since, the GOP has steadily fallen and the non-enrolled continued to gain. 

When we look at the partisan breakdowns in the regions, we see some true disparity in Manlius and hints at why the Onondaga County Legislature changed district 10.  The Northern district we see a rare occurrence, an area where the non-enrolled out number both Democrats and GOP.  Minoa, also in the northern half of the Town is basically even in partisan splits.  The other villages, Fayetteville and Manlius, are both solidly Democratic as investigated in my previous Weekly Wonks this year.  The Western and Eastern regions are solidly Democratic.  It’s the Southern region of Manlius that has the most Democratic advantage, with the non-enrolled eclipsing the GOP.  It is no wonder the Onondaga County legislature moved OCL 10 North cutting out the more Democratic regions of the village of Manlius and southern Democrats for more GOP friendly grounds.  After 3 straight close call elections they used redistricting to shape a better district for the incumbent.

Looking at the growth of voters since the last redistricting cycle, 2012, we see that the regions are all growing, but at a different rate.  The big gainer is the Southern Manlius district gaining 736 voters.  The village of Minoa is the second biggest gainer despite being a smaller region with a gain of 495 voters.  The eastern region bordering Dewitt saw significant growth as well gaining 376 voters.  The remaining two villages, Fayetteville (+282) and Manlius (+224) had solid growth.  The Western region saw the least growth gaining just 199 voters.

The Democratic transformation of Manlius has not happened evenly.  When comparing the partisan difference between Democratic enrollment and GOP enrollment and its change since 2012 we saw the biggest =growth of 17.81% in the Southern region.  The villages of Fayetteville (+16.29%) and Manlius (+16.36%) which are also in the Southern portion of Manlius had similar gains.  The East (+13.06%) and West (+13.16%) portions also saw decent Democratic gains since 2012.  However, when we look at the North District, we only saw a modest (+4.70%).  The village of Minoa is the only region where the GOP gained and the Democrats lost ground, but just barely at -1.89%.  Again, the northern portions have reacted more favorably long term for the GOP and why it is was moved into OCL 10.

When we look at the comparative races, we see a Town that votes nearly how the County votes.  In 2022 the Town of Manlius voted for Governor Hochul by 57.86%, 4.08% ahead of the Onondaga County rate of 53.78%. In 2021 the Town of Manlius voted for Anthony Brindisis for Supreme Court by 53.58%, just 1.08% of the county result rate of 52.50%.  In 2020 Manlius voted for President Biden 61.13%, 2.25% points ahead of the Onondaga County.  In 2019 Manlius voted for the Democrat Mark Kolinski by 49.34%, just 1.61% ahead of the Onondaga County rate of 47.73%.  These are some of the closest results to the Onondaga County averages of any town, and why as Manlius goes, so does Onondaga County.  The last local head-to-head race was the 2021 Town Supervisor race where Democrat John Deer won the supervisor seat with 51.9% of the vote completing the takeover of Manlius Town Government by the Democrats.   

In 2023 the Manlius Town Democrats are currently passing petitions to defend three town board races, the Town supervisor as well as try to flip the Town Justice and OCL 10.  They have had two incredible cycles in 2019 and 2021 where they have won every contested town race but failed to flip OCL 10 in close races each time.  You can get involved with the Manlius Town Democrats by contacting Prerna Deer, the Town Chair Prerna Deer at

That is, it for this week’s edition of the #WeeklyWonk.  Next week I will dive into the Town of Spafford, where Democrats have had recent successes despite a large registration gap. As always go to and subscribe to get all your content and election news updates.  I run that website, along with these series of articles, as part of my voter education.  I never take ad money or charge subscriptions paying for the site with my own personal funds.  Subscribe here.

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