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DeFrancisco's NYS senate seat open after 25 years

Durrie Bouscaren
WRVO News File Photo

Syracuse-area State Sen. John DeFrancisco does not plan to seek reelection this year, even if his bid for governor is unsuccessful. The Republican, who represents most of Onondaga County and parts of Cayuga County, has served in the senate for 25 years.

DeFrancisco announced last week that he will not actively campaign for governor after losing key endorsements to his opponent Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro. He still plans to attend Republican events, but is done with the "frenetic pace." While DeFrancisco says he will remain in that race until the GOP chooses its candidate in May, he's not going to remain in the Senate after his term expires at the end of this year. That opens up a potentially critical seat for the Democratic Party in a year where they are optimistic about their chances to take control of the state Senate from the GOP, which currently holds a one-seat majority.

DeFrancisco says that narrow majority was not responsible for his decision, but it did complicate it.

"It makes it harder for me not to run because I know how important it is for the state of New York to have a Republican-controlled Senate," DeFrancisco said. "I have pledged that whoever the candidate might be, I will help them in any way I can make sure I do my part in maintaining that majority."

Onondaga County Democratic Chairman Mark English says the seat will now be a priority for both the local and state Democratic parties.

"It changes the character of the race that he’s not in it,” English said. “I think it enhances the Democratic chances to win in that district.”

The Onondaga and Cayuga county Democrats have endorsed West Genesee Biology teacher John Mannion to run for the seat.

So far, only one Republican, businessman Rick Zaccarria, ha declared their candidacy for the seat. Onondaga County Republican Chairman Tom Dadey did not respond to a request for comment.

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.