ALBANY, N.Y. — The leader of the New York Senate has endorsed Republican John DeFrancisco’s campaign for governor.

Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan on Tuesday called DeFrancisco a “strong, smart and principled” leader who has the character and skills to serve as governor.

DeFrancisco currently serves as deputy Senate majority leader.

He’s from Syracuse and was first elected to the Senate in 1992. He was considered a rival to Flanagan when the latter was picked to lead the chamber in 2015.

DeFrancisco faces former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra in the GOP primary. A third candidate, Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, dropped out of the race last week.

On the Democratic side, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is seeking a third term in the November election.