Welcome back to #WeeklyWonk. Each weekend I publish 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. Today I investigate the Town of Clay, the largest Town in Onondaga County.
The Town of Clay sits in the true north of Onondaga County in between Lysander to the west and Cicero to the East. The makeup of Clay is 34% Democrat (14,074 Voters), 30% GOP (12,219 Voters), and 29% non-Enrolled (12,157 voters). Democrats have carved out a small but sustained plurality in Clay. Clay elects all their representative’s town wide and not by wards. So, I have carved up Clay into 5 different regions, North 8,435 voters, Center 8,281 voters, West 8, 317 voters, South 8,119 voters, and East 8178 voters. Each region represents about 20% of the electorate of Clay.
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 see a wide variety of partisan leans in these eds. Ed 27 has an overwhelming GOP advantage (+20% GOP). Ed 12 has a normal GOP advantage (+5-10% GOP). Most of the area of Clay exists in the borderline eds. Eds 1, 3, 7, 16, 19, 32, 33, 37, 46 have slight GOP advantage between 0-5%. Eds 4, 5, 8, 13, 14, 17, 18, 29, 35, 40, & 44 have slight democratic enrollment advantages between 0-5%. A significant amount of Eds though live in Democratic leaning areas. Eds 2, 6, 10, 20, 21, 24, 30, 31, 34, 36, 38, 41, & 43, have normal Democratic advantages (5-10% Dem). Ed 15 has an overwhelming Democratic advantage (+20 DEM).
Since 2009 The Town of Clay has seen the typical suburban partisan shift going from a small GOP advantage to a consistent Democratic plurality. Democrats have gained 1,969 voters. The GOP has stalled losing only 210 voters. The Non-enrolled has seen the largest gains, garnering 2,666 more voters. New voters in terms of age and transplants prefer the Democratic and Non-enrolled registration status as the older GOP population is holding steady, but not making any gains as the town grows.
The regions are mostly reflective of the purple nature of the overall registration. The center region is really the Center west consisting of compact suburban eds near the border with Lysander. This is a solid Democratic region with +4.88% partisan advantage. The Eastern region in the southeastern corner of clay with the communities bordering North Syracuse is +4.87 Democrat but the non-enrolled has eclipsed the GOP here. The northern eds are the larger more agrarian eds that make up the North and center portion of the towns and the more GOP leaning of the region with a -3.31 rating for Democrats. The Southern region bordering Salina is also a solid Democratic region with +4.05% Democrat and non-enrolled outnumbering GOP. The western region is the really the southwestern corner that considers itself part of the extended Liverpool community of Salina. This is the most Democratic region with +11.09 Democratic advantage and the non0-enrolled far outnumbering the GOP.
Looking at the growth of voters since the last redistricting cycle we compare it with date from May 2012. The Town of Clay grew by 5713 active voters. The biggest growth is in the northern region which gained by 2735 voters. This makes sense as it is the largest landmass region and where there is room for more development. The western region grew by 975 voters. The Eastern region grew by 815 voters. The southern region grows by 629 voters and the Center region by 559 voters. With Micron coming to Northern clay, we could see even more growth in the northern region as housing development may surround the industrial growth.
The Town of Clay Democratic advantage has grown by 4.61% since 2012, which is significant but behind the pace of Onondaga County overall. The largest growth has been in the western region with Democrats gaining by 7.43%. The southern region grew by 6.04%. The center region grew by 5.20%. The eastern region grew the least by just 2.16%. Democrats are seeing growth across Clay, but it seems to be concentrated mostly in the southwestern corner of the Town.
When we look at the comparative races, we see the hallmarks of a purple town in Onondaga County but a little more Center right. In even years Clay voted for President Biden in 2020 54.71% of the vote, 4.17% behind is Onondaga rate. However, in 2022 Governor Hochul lost Clay only getting 48.86% of the vote, 4.92% behind her Onondaga County rate. In odd years the GOP has done considerably better in Clay. In 2021 Anthony Brindisi for Supreme Court only garnered 43.74% of the vote, 8.76% behind his GOP rate. In 2019 Dan Kolinski for County Clerk only garnered 42.80% of the vote, 4.93% behind his Onondaga County rate. In the last head-to-head local race, the GOP won the Town Clerk race by over 30% points.
In 2023 the Clay Town Democrats will caucus to find candidates for Supervisor, Clerk, 2 Town Justices, 2 Town Board members and Highway superintendent. The Town of Clay Democrats fill their candidates by caucus. The Caucus has not yet been scheduled but can be anytime between now and July 27, 2023. If you are interested in running for any of these offices or want to help the Clay Democrats contact their chairperson Matt Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
That is, it for this week’s edition of the #WeeklyWonk. Next week I will dive into the Town of Dewitt, the most reliably Democratic town in Onondaga County. As always go to dustinczarny.com 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.