Dewitt turns democratic in a rare competitive race: Matt's Memo

Jamie Frank, Dewitt Town Councilor-elect

The Town of Dewitt should win some sort of Election Day award for fielding two strong slates of candidates in both major political parties. The voters in the town were better served than perhaps any other community in Central New York be being offered several choices. They could pick between republicans and democrats. They could take political experience versus newcomer. They could select longtime residents versus newer to the community. They had choices.

Choices make for interesting campaigns. The competition also leads to better candidates and greater accountability. A community can only improve when there are enough people who care about its future to put themselves on the line to run for office.

Dewitt has a better balance between democrats and republicans than other surrounding areas. It likely falls along similar lines as the whole of Onondaga County which has the latest count of active voters showing approximately 104,000 democrats versus 85,000 republicans.

Back to the Dewitt comparison, the Town of Manlius is heavily republican while neighboring City of Syracuse is heavily democratic. The political scale may tilt one way or another in Dewitt, but it is not constantly tipped in one direction. Therefore, it's more likely that Dewitt will have competitive races and changes in the control of the town council from time to time.

While there are several races that are too close to call in Onondaga County Dewitt is not among them. Three democrats will move onto the Town Council taking the place of three republicans. Jamie Frank, Joey Chiarenza and Kevin Rigney knocked out two incumbents, Irene Scruton and Anthony Albanese, and one newcomer on the other side. Frank was the leading vote getter among them all.

Frank's bouyant personality, history as an all-star athlete and coach and experience as an accountant likely all contributed to his success in his first foray into a run for office. Yet, all of the candidates who run deserve credit.

Wouldn't it be something if come next fall every state senate and assembly district was contested, every congressional seat had two legitimate contenders and even Governor Cuomo had a top notch republican facing him down in engaging debates. That's what Election Day should be all about. The Town of Dewitt showed the way tonight.

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