Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

DeFrancisco for Governor? The Veteran Senator is Exploring the Possibility

What are the prospects that Republican State Senator John DeFrancisco of Syracuse will challenge Governor Andrew Cuomo for Governor? 

DeFrancisco says he first wants to see if he can gain enough support from republican committee members and is traveling across the state to get the word out about his vision for the state.  He feels that it’s a critical time for him to decide whether or not to run.

"While population throughout the United States is growing, we had a net loss.  That means are voting with their feet.   They're expressing how they really feel by leaving the state.  That confirms what I've heard from  especially small business owners and people worried about their job, and seeing their kids not coming back to the state.” 

The Senator says that voters want to be confident about elected officials and thinks Cuomo has a credibility issue.

"If you talk to most New Yorkers who have any  involvement in politics, I would like to find out who, give me one person...have them call me, who trusts Andrew Cuomo to be truthful when he says something.  It's just not the case.” 

DeFrancisco feels that Cuomo likes to take credit for projects such as the recent expansion of the subway system on 7th Avenue in New York.  However, he alleges that the Governor distanced himself from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority when problems occurred.

“… but, then, you don’t a few months later say that it’s not you (Governor Cuomo) that’s running the Metropolitan Transportation Authority; it’s all (Mayor Bill) de Blasio’s fault, even though you appoint the Chairman to that group and you have a substantial influence over the majority of that group.  So, that’s the type of thing, I think, that people get tired… I know I do, of hearing things one day and then a totally opposite spin on something the next day because it achieves a political result.”

WAER's John Smith and Senator John DeFrancisco.

As Governor, the Senator would like to redirect assistance to established companies in the state and put an end to Cuomo’s program to offer tax breaks and incentives to out of state companies to entice them to relocate to New York State.

"To provide free stuff, because it's not free, somebody's paying for it.  Or, it's another burden on small business, or it's another reason why a job at a fast food restaurant is not available because there's a kiosk, because we're providing an increase in the minimum wage that's not comparable to other states.”

The Senator thinks that billions of dollars the State earned through lawsuits and settlements should have been used for addressing infrastructure issues for cities like Syracuse.  DeFrancisco acknowledges that the Governor has a very large campaign fund; however, he feels that it take s much more to gain votes.

“I really think whether he seems to be vulnerable or not, you get a credible candidate (to challenge Cuomo).  And let’s suppose the people are correct that are prognosticating that he can’t lose.  Do we just roll-over and say we’re going to continue doing what we’re doing when we know it’s wrong?  I don’t think that’s the way I live my life and hopefully others feels the same way.” 

He compares the idea of challenging Cuomo to last year's U.S. Presidential race where projections indicated that Hillary Clinton would be the presumable victor and ultimately, anything can happen. DeFrancisco says he’s already met with republicans in Saratoga County and Oswego County.  He’s scheduled to travel to visit Erie County Republicans this weekend. 

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.
Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at