Flanagan says he can unite Upstate and Downstate in Albany

Sen. John Flanagan in a statement on Tuesday insisted he could unite the upstate and downstate factions in the Republican conference as he runs to keep the leadership post in the chamber.

At the same time, Flanagan also said he has “no interest” in running for Suffolk County executive.

“I believe I am the one candidate who can unite Upstate and downstate and chart a credible path to a future Republican Majority,” Flanagan said. “To do so, we must recruit strong candidates who can compete and win in every region of the state, including Upstate, the suburbs and, yes, even in New York City.”

Flanagan became majority leader in 2015. His chief rival for retaining the leadership is Sen. Cathy Young, the chairwoman of the Senate Republican Campaign Committee.

Republicans last week lost eight seats in the 63-member chamber and controlling majority in the Senate for the first time in a decade.

Flanagan called the election “historically difficult” and attributed to a “national wave that favored Democrats.”

“As Republicans, we are going to spend the next two years aggressively highlighting the differences that exist between ourselves and the incoming Democrat Majority,” Flanagan said.

“We are going to make a case for reducing taxes so it’s far easier to live in New York, helping businesses create new jobs so there are opportunities for families and for young people, and we’re going to stay hard at work on the issues that truly matter to middle-class families – – like making higher education more affordable, bringing about safer streets and stronger communities, helping individuals overcome the scourge of heroin and opioids, ensuring clean water, combating Lyme disease, and so much more.”

So far, at least two Republicans — Sens. Rich Funke and Robert Ortt — have publicly announced they want to see a change in leadership. Flanagan has the public backing of Sen. Fred Akshar of the Binghamton area.

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