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In NYC's Trump Stronghold, Some Neighborhoods Go Strongly Blue

By Nicholas Rizzi | November 10, 2016 3:26pm

STATEN ISLAND — Though Staten Island voted overwhelmingly for President-Elect Donald Trump, the borough's North Shore was staunchly with her.

Trump took the island with 57 percent of the vote — 95,612 to her 67,561. But in the North Shore, the former Secretary of State got 64 percent of the vote, according to preliminary numbers from the Board of Election.

"It's a Trump kind of town for some people, but at the same time there are neighborhoods that are overwhelmingly supportive of Hillary Clinton," said Michael Arvanites, president of the North Shore Democratic Club.

"I think we do get written off as, 'Oh, they’re all Republican' and that's simply not true, especially in the North Shore," said Arvanites. 

"It's a very ethnically and racially diverse, culturally aware active portion of the city and the world."

Residents in neighborhoods like Stapleton — where Clinton got 80 percent of the vote — said painting Staten Islanders as only supporting Trump doesn't account for the diversity in the borough.


"What's unfair to me is, obviously you look at the maps of the borough, you can just look at the bottom line, you can say it's a Republican borough," said Tom Shcherbenko, a Stapleton resident who voted for Clinton.

"There are neighborhoods, especially on the North Shore, where finding an actual Trump supporter would be a task."

In Assembly District 61 — which comprises most of the North Shore — Clinton had 25,055 votes compared to Trump's 12,310.

Her strongest showings were in sections of Mariner's Harbor and St. George, where she got 91.9 percent and 90.6 percent of the vote respectively.

Despite Clinton's strong showing on the North Shore, Trump still won the majority of votes in the borough by a higher percentage than President Barack Obama did in 2012 and Sen. John McCain did in 2008, according to the Staten Island Advance.

South Shore communities had strong support for Trump, with election districts in Rossville and Tottenville giving him 80 to 81 percent of the vote.

"I think the people have woken up and realized that we're going on the wrong path and they wanted a change," John Antoniello, chairman of the Republican Party of Staten Island, previously told DNAinfo New York.

"They wanted somebody outside, who wasn’t a politician, and they chose Trump."

Shcherbenko, a district leader of the Democratic Committee of Richmond County and former Bernie Sanders delegate, said borough voters have a history of crossing party lines and voting more independently than the rest of the city. Trump did well with Russian immigrants who moved here.

Arvanites — who said Staten Island's demographics make it a "microcosm" of the country — said Trump tapped into a lot of angry, previously inactive voters to get the win.

He warned that if the next president doesn't come through on his promises to "Make America Great Again," he might only serve one term.

"Staten Islanders, they are independent and they will turn on a candidate that fails," he said.

But the Trump win has some Staten Islanders telling Shcherbenko they're considering moving out of the borough because of his strong support.

"The sad thing is people are saying 'I want to leave now,' because they're looking at neighbors and saying they don’t belong," he said.