CAPITAL REGION – Since 1960, the state of Ohio has been won every four years by the presidential candidate who ended up winning the national election.
Ohio’s streak is again at stake this year, with the Buckeye State — the fulcrum between the Northeast and Midwest, industrial/rural, home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame — one of the key battleground states where the race between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden will be decided.
Just maybe, Saratoga County is the Capital Region equivalent. The county has been on the winning side of every presidential vote since 2000, a 5-0 streak that will be at stake again on Nov. 3. The winning streak has occurred because even though the Republican party has a significant enrollment advantage countywide, voters in both 2008 and 2012 went for the Democratic Obama-Biden ticket.
The local leader of the Democratic party, at least, is betting that the streak will continue in 2020.
“I fully anticipate that Saratoga County as a whole will vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. I would be shocked if it was otherwise,” said Todd Kerner, the county’s Democratic chairman.
No other Capital Region county has a better than 3-2 record in presidential outcomes in that time. Albany County has gone predictably Democratic even in years when a Republican won the White House, while Fulton and Schoharie counties’ residents firmly stood by the Republican candidates, even during the two Obama elections.
Actually, Saratoga County hasn’t missed a picking a winner since 1992, when voters in the county preferred incumbent Republican president George H.W. Bush over Democratic candidate Bill Clinton.
County Republican Chairman Carl Zeilman is predicting the Trump-Pence ticket will carry both Saratoga County and the nation, stretching the county’s winning streak to seven presidential elections. “(Trump) has energized the Republican base in the county, we are reaching out to the unaffiliated and the independents,” he said.
Schenectady County over the last 20 years has consistently gone for the Democratic candidate, including four years ago, when Hilary Clinton carried the county over Trump.
Schenectady County Republican Chairman Chris Koetzle isn’t making any predictions about this year. He says he learned better four years ago.
“I predicted Hillary Clinton was going to win four years ago, so I gave up on predictions,” Koetzle said. He said be believes polls showing a wide lead for Biden are misleading, because so many people aren’t easily reachable by telephone polls or chose not to respond. Support for Trump, he thinks, is stronger than many observers think.
“What I hear a lot of is that I support the president, but I would never put a sign out, because they’re afraid of the reaction,” he said. “I think people will show support in the voting booth, but maybe not out in public.”