New York state Sen. John Mannion was victorious over Dewitt Town Councilor Sarah Klee Hood in the Democratic primary for New York’s 22nd Congressional District Tuesday. Now, it’s on to the general election against incumbent Republican Rep. Brandon Williams.

The 22nd Congressional District represents all of Onondaga and Madison counties, as well as parts of Cayuga, Cortland and Oneida counties.

With the final matchup set, we are getting a better idea of what to look for in what will be one of the most closely watched races in the state.

Grant Reeher, professor of political science at Syracuse University, told Spectrum News 1 that on paper, there wasn’t actually much separating state Sen. Mannion and opponent Sarah Klee Hood, but he sees a clear deciding factor in the race.

“The fact that he wrapped up the support of pretty much all of the relevant unions pretty early on,” he said.

Pivoting to the general election, he said there’s one glaring difference between this race and the contest between Williams and Democrat Francis Canole in 2022.

“You’ve got two candidates with voting records this time. Last time, neither had voting records,” Reeher said.

In a district where Mannion has a degree of name recognition, he argued that there is one clear vulnerability for Williams.

“I think it is fair to say that he hasn’t been very visible in the district,” he said. “He hasn’t done a lot of media interviews, he hasn’t done a lot of town hall interviews and when he has they have been very constrained."

On the other hand, following in the footsteps of their strategy in 2022, Reeher suspects that the Williams campaign is pleased to begin digging into Mannion’s record at the state Capitol.

“One of his main tactics was to associate Francis Canole with Albany, even though Francis Canole had no association with Albany, but it worked. Now he has someone who actually has Albany experience,” he said.

In terms of tone, Mannion stressed in his victory speech the power of a positive campaign, but Reeher pointed out that with the amount of outside money that will be pouring into this race, there’s only so much he will be able to do to control that.

“There are going to be ads on television tearing Brandon Williams apart. They won’t necessarily be his, but they’ll be there and I think because of the nature of that, it's going to be more negative,” he said.

What about redistricting? Reeher said the latest map approved earlier this year seems to nudge the district to the left by swapping out conservative areas of Oneida County where Williams did well, for more blue areas of Cayuga County.

He argued that percieved shift could end up being a mirage, and we won’t know until Election Day.

“The most recent round of the tweaking of the districts makes this district look even more friendly to democrats, but it looked friendly to Democrats two years ago and a conservative Republican won,” he said.