Onondaga County Republican Chairman Tom Dadey was all-in on President Donald Trump's campaign early on in 2016. And Trump's campaign did well in parts of upstate New York, winning largely rural and suburban areas -- including counties President Barack Obama had previously won in 2012.
Dadey, who attended the Republican National Convention last week, is still bullish on Trump in 2020, especially in upstate New York.
I spoke with him this week about upstate voters, what issues are resonating with them, how this can affect down-ballot candiates and why he thinks Trump is again poised to do well in parts of upstate New York.
What's your expectation for how well the president's re-election is going to do in upstate counties?
I expect the president to do pretty well in upstate New York. He has a record over the last four years building a pretty strong economy. If you look at the last four years and what he's been able to build up compared to Joe Biden's 47 years in the swamp, there's no comparison. People in upstate New York care about having a good paying job. People in upstate New York care about making sure we're dealing with this virus. People in upstate New York don't want to pay anymore in taxes. And as we get ready to receive our school tax bill, there's a lot of folks saying, "hey, wait a minute!" and the champion for tax reform is clearly the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.
When you compare and contrast what the Democrats are offering, versus the RNC, why should upstate voters fill in the bubble for Trump?
Upstate New York looks like the rest of the country. Folks care about having a good paying job, putting food on the table for their family, being able to put money away so their kids can go to college and it's a clear choice. Do you want to continue this economic prosperity that Donald Trump has been able to build up? Granted, it's been sidetracked a little bit with this virus. But up until March 1, we had record levels of unemployment, whether it was in the African-American community, the Asian community. The stock market was at a record high and that's all because of policies Donald Trump was able to implement were working. Nobody could see this unfortunate pandemic, this global crisis that griped not only upstate New York, but the world. Nobody could see this coming.
And there's a clear choice: Do you want to continue the freedoms we have whether it's folks in upstate New York who care about the Second Amendment, or do you want to go the other way and have socialism? I mean, I think last week the folks were able to hear loud and clear there's a clear choice. We heard from ordinary Americans at the Republican National Convention who said, "here's what our story is. Here's what we've been through."
How important will it be to have the president to mount a strong campaign in upstate New York in order to get out the vote for down ballot Republicans?
We kept control of the Republican Senate that year (2016). There's no better get out the vote operation, mechanism, than having Donald Trump at the top of the ticket. We won congressional seats that year, we won Senate seats, we won down ballot seats.
I suspect, and I know in some of the data I've seen, it's going to be good for the candidates running down ballot, whether it's Assembly, Senate, Congress, local races. It's going to be very good for us in upstate New York.