SYRACUSE, N.Y. — New York state Sen. John DeFrancisco on Tuesday formally launched his campaign to unseat Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“New Yorkers deserve a leader they can trust and one who will fight for what is right for them and their families,” the Syracuse Republican said at his campaign kickoff in Liverpool, just north of his hometown.
“Our once proud state has become a laughing stock around the country, with the highest taxes, the worst business climate, high energy costs, a failing transportation and infrastructure system, failing schools and rising unemployment in every region of the state, except New York City,” DeFrancisco said.
The 71-year-old DeFrancisco, an attorney, was first elected to the Senate in 1992 and has emerged as a leading critic of Cuomo’s record on taxes, spending and economic development.
He will face two other Republicans in the primary: Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb of Canandaigua and former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra. Two other possible candidates, businessman Harry Wilson and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, said this month that they would not run.
Cuomo is considered a possible 2020 presidential candidate. He is seeking a third term this fall.
The incumbent has a formidable advantage when it comes to party affiliation and fundraising. Democrats have a roughly 2-to-1 advantage in party registration in New York. Cuomo’s latest fundraising reports show he has a more than $30 million war chest. His Republican opponents have not submitted new fundraising reports since filing for office.
The last Republican to win the governor’s office was George Pataki in 2002.