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Antonacci enters race for DeFrancisco's state Senate seat

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News (file photo)
Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci

The race for the Republican nomination for the state Senate seat being vacated by longtime Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) is heating up.

Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonocci has sent a letter to Onondaga and Cayuga County Republican Party members announcing his intention to run for the 50th state Senate district seat, which covers parts of Onondaga and Cayuga counties.

Antonocci believes he has the skill set to make a difference in Albany.

“I’m excited about the character and what I bring to Albany. The knowledge I have of budgets. The knowledge I have of taxation and spending.  And I think I’ll carry on where Senator DeFrancisco left off,” said Antonacci.

He says he’s been encouraged by members of the Senate and fellow Republicans to run.

“The final determining factor is Shelly Silver being convicted this [past] week,” he said. “We’ve just got to do things differently.”

Former State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was found guilty of public corruption on Friday. Beyond ethics, Antonocci says he will focus on revving up the state’s economic engine.

“We’re losing population. We’re losing businesses. We just lost one of the top investment firms in the country to Nashville, Tennessee,” he said. “These things have got to stop, and the only way they stop, is you do things differently.”

Antonacci has served as Onondaga County Comptroller since 2008. He unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for Attorney General in 2010, and ran for State Comptroller in 2014, losing to Democrat Tom DiNapoli. 

In his letter to Republican officials, Antonacci said he already has $115,000 in his campaign account and has more fundraisers planned. 

Republican officials in Onondaga and Cayuga County are expected to designate a candidate in meetings after Memorial Day. Rick Zaccaria of Baldwinsville has already announced that he’s running, and Syracuse Common Councilor Joe Carni is expected to announce his campaign on Tuesday. If there is a primary in the race, it would be held Sept. 13.

DeFrancisco, who has served in the Senate for 25 years, is retiring at the end of this year.

Democrats have designated West Genesee teacher John Mannion as their nominee.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.