Why Onondaga County stood out in Tuesday's primary
Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton won resoundingly in New York's primary Tuesday, including in Onondaga County. But a look at the numbers shows that the county's results stand out in central New York.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont won every upstate county except for three, Erie, Monroe and Onondaga. Grant Reeher, a political science professor at Syracuse University and host of The Campbell Conversations on WRVO, said that aligns with previous victories for Clinton, who has found support in diverse, urban areas like Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse. Yet, she won by a comfortable six points. Reeher attributes that to the endorsements she got from local political officials like Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Onondaga County Legislator Peggy Chase, which he says translated into tactical support.
"Working in the Democratic Party organization, making a point of trying to use the levers of the Democratic machine to get those folks to turn out, that's where it matters," Reeher said. "And I think here in the Syracuse city area those levers still exist and i think we saw their effect here."
Reeher said if the primary had been open to voters from all political parties, Sanders may have beaten Clinton in Onondaga County.
On the Republican side, Trump edged out Ohio Gov. John Kasich in Onondaga County 45 percent to 36 percent. That was 11 points higher than Kasich's second-place finish statewide.
"It's a reflection of that tradition of moderate republican voters here," Reeher said. "It's the reason why John Katko was able to defeat an incumbent Dan Maffei. Iit's the reason why Richard Hanna stayed in office as long as he did."
Reeher said Kasich's strong showing may give him more of an argument that he should be the Trump alternative, rather than Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas who leaves New York without any delegates.