A 3rd Republican Joins Race for New York Governor

by | January 31, 2018 AT 10:00 AM

By Rick Karlin

Pointing to economic stagnation and a culture of official corruption, state Senate Republican Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco on Tuesday announced his bid to seek the Republican nomination for governor.

Surrounded by family, friends and supporters in his home district outside Syracuse, DeFrancisco said New Yorkers "deserve a leader they can trust and one who will fight for what is right for them and their families."

He's the third Republican so far to get in the race to challenge Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat seeking a third term.

Also seeking the GOP nomination are state Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb of Canandaigua and former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra.

Like Kolb, DeFrancisco has been a critic of Cuomo's policies, including the governor's economic development strategies for upstate.

He reiterated that critique on Tuesday, saying Cuomo "uses his economic development office for political gain. He thinks economic development is one big game of Monopoly -- except it's your money he's playing with."

Like other upstate Republicans, DeFrancisco focused on the economic struggles facing much of the region, which is dotted with Rust Belt factory towns and farming communities. "People are fleeing this state," he said.

A Syracuse University graduate and attorney, DeFrancisco was first elected to the Senate in 1992.

DeFrancisco referenced the ongoing federal corruption trial of Joe Percoco, a former top Cuomo aide facing bribery charges alongside two Syracuse-area development executives.

Republicans may have an uphill fight against Cuomo, given the Democrats' more than 2-to-2 voter registration edge and the more than $30 million that Cuomo has in his campaign fund.

Still, supporters were hopeful on Tuesday.

State GOP Chairman Ed Cox deployed a phrase made famous during Republican George Pataki's 1994 campaign against Gov. Mario Cuomo, who was defeated that year after three terms: "For the sake of New Yorkers, this year we must elect 'Anyone But Cuomo.' "

(c)2018 the Times Union (Albany, N.Y.)