Could Erie County Gauge 2020?

Region has rural, suburban and urban cores

Tom Puckett
October 15, 2019 - 4:00 am

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Buffalo, NY (WBEN) The race for Erie County Executive may not just be a showdown over road paving, it could be a sign of things to come for 2020.

Candidates in Conversation : Hear Mark Poloncarz and Lynne Dixon in-depth

Jimmy Vielkind of the Wall Street Journal says while Mark Poloncarz and Lynne Dixon are calling this race a bellwether for next year, he looks at voter attitudes. "Will we see the surge among Democrats and progressives that existed in the 2018 election continue? Will we see Republicans feel enlivened by the impeachment inquiry against President Trump and come to the polls?" ponders Vielkind. "When we have a county like Erie, it's going to be possible to measure those outcomes."

Vielkind says Erie County is a good bellwether for New York because it has an urban core, first string suburbs, and rural areas. "Depending on what happens in November will provide clues for the presidential election as well as the races for Congress and state legislature seats in 2020," says Vielkind. He says it's also interesting to see national issues as well as local issues be brought up. "Mr. Poloncarz is attacking Ms, Dixon over (former Rep. Chris) Collins who pleaded guilty to insider trading and resigned his office. Ms. Dixon is attacking Mr. Poloncarz over the new state law allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for a driver's license. Poloncarz is supporting an Erie County lawsuit against the bill, but that has come up."

What if Dixon does well next month? "The polls don't give Mr. Trump much comforr. Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1 on a statewide basis. Polls show Trump is viewed unfavorably by 2/3 of voters or more, so political operatives don't give President Trump a chance of winning in New York. But if Dixon does well in Erie County, it could indicate support existing in rust belt areas like Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio, which he carried in 2016 and he's banking on carrying next year," says Vielkind. 

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