Jim Henderson

A view from Tottenville of the Arthur Kill, with the Outerbridge Crossing in the background.

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As the 2017 municipal election approaches, City Limits’ 2017 Election Watch will offer a quick look at data and recent political history in some of the city’s more interesting Council districts.
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New York City’s most solidly Republican area has grown slightly more solid in its GOP allegiance in recent years.

District 51, which covers the southern cone of Staten Island and has more registered GOP members than any other Council district, was 37.8 percent Republican and 36.5 percent Democratic in 2011. In the six years since, the district has added nearly 10,000 registered voters. More than 6,300 of them signed up with the GOP; only 313 identified as Democrats. (See charts below.)

In the 62nd Assembly District, which covers much of the same area as District 51, the 2016 presidential election saw Donald Trump get 74 percent of the vote to Hillary Clinton 23 percent—pretty much the mirror opposite of how the city as a whole cast its ballots.

If Republican mayoral hopeful Nicole Malliotakis has a chance to unseat Mayor de Blasio—whose advantages include incumbency, a solid approval rating, a larger campaign fund and the steep citywide Democratic registration advantage—she at the very least must wring massive Republican turnout out of districts like this.

But she’ll also have to craft a message that appeals to middle-of-the-road voters in other districts, and that could be challenging, given how different the 51st is from the rest of New York. Eighty-six percent white, Staten Island Community Board 3 (which overlaps substantially with the Council district) has a median income of $82,080. Among all 59 community boards, it has the highest rate of home-ownership (and the highest real-estate sales volume), according to the Furman Center’s annual report on the State of New York City Housing and Neighborhoods. It also boasts the lowest rate of serious crime.

Here’s an interesting wrinkle: While de Blasio is unlikely to get a large share of votes here, he has attracted campaign donations from the area. According to information derived from the New York City Campaign Finance Board’s nerd-tastic Follow the Money tool, during the 2017 campaign cycle to date, here are the top five recipients of money from the three ZIP codes that comprise the 51st district (10307, 10309 and 10312, for those scoring at home):

1. Staten Island Borough President James Oddo: $24,520
2. Current District 51 City Councilman Joseph Borelli: $19,057
3. Staten Island Assemblywoman and Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis: $18,310
4. Mayor Bill de Blasio: $15,209
5. Former District 51 City Councilmember Vincent Ignizio: $12,446

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