Sen. Rich Funke became the latest Republican to announce retirement plans by the end of next year.
Funke, a Republican elected in 2014 to a Democratic-leaning seat in the Rochester area, quoted the Bible, saying “for everything in life there is season. There is a time for a beginning, there is a time to end. I’ve always believed that.”
“I also believe in term limits, so I will end my time in elected office on my own terms,” he said.
Funke was a major recruitment for Republicans at the time, filling a seat that had been held by Republican Sen. Jim Alesi. A former local sports anchor in the Rochester market, Funke is a well-known household name in the area.
But Republicans have been signaling their departures from the state Senate in droves this month. Two Republicans, Sens. Chris Jacobs and Robert Ortt, are running for an open western New York House seat.
Sen. Bob Antonacci, elected only a year ago, is taking a judgeship in central New York.
Sens. Betty Little, George Amedore, Joe Robach have all announced their plans to retire by the end of the year. Sen. Cathy Young resigned after losing a leadership election to Minority Leader John Flanagan.
Republicans fell into the minority for the first time in a decade in 2018, a development that allowed Democrats in the Legislature to pursue long-sought progressive bills in Albany.
Senate Republicans are behind Democrats in fundraising efforts as well, and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins expects her conference will hold at least 43 seats in the 63-seat chamber by the start of the new term in 2021.