New York 25th District
Syracuse is a Middle American city in the middle of upstate New York, halfway between Albany and Buffalo on the Erie Canal and the old New York Central Railroad, which were for years the nation’s major east-west transportation routes. Built on a swamp that was a salt spring, Syracuse is the home of many practical-minded inventions—the dental chair, Stickley mission furniture, the drive-in bank teller, the serrated knife, and the foot measuring devices used in shoe stores. It is the site of the New York State Fair, which attracts 1 million visitors annually, and of Syracuse University, which plays basketball inside the Carrier Dome, the largest domed stadium on a college campus. The agricultural hinterland is rich with specialty crops like wine grapes, and its industrial jobs are mostly high-skill. But Onondaga County has been losing population since 1990, with a big loss in the 20-35 age group. Manufacturing jobs are being lost, but there are job gains in business services, education, and health care. Because local housing prices increased only modestly during the real estate boom, the area suffered little from the sharp decline in housing prices in 2008 and 2009.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 25th Congressional District of New York includes all of Syracuse and Onondaga County. West of Syracuse, it includes territory just south of Lake Ontario, northern Cayuga County, and Wayne County, where in the village of Palmyra, Joseph Smith had his vision of the angel Moroni and saw the golden tablets that led him to found the Mormon Church. The district’s western end is in the suburbs of Rochester in Monroe County, which is split up between four districts. Historically, Syracuse and Rochester have been heavily Republican, partly out of antipathy to New York City. But in the 1990s, economically ailing upstate New York trended sharply toward national Democrats even as it voted for Republican Gov. George Pataki. In 2007, Democrats had the majority of voter registrations in Onondaga for the first time. This district voted 50% for Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry in 2004 and 56% for Democratic nominee Barack Obama in 2008.