Republican Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan on Wednesday announced he would not seek re-election this November, ending a career in Albany that started in the state Assembly and spanned more than 30 years.
"The opportunity to serve the public for virtually all of my adult life has enriched every aspect of my life, and so it is a with a heavy but extremely proud heart that I announce today that I will not be seeking re-election to the New York State Senate," Flanagan said. "The wide array of emotions I am experiencing in making this decision are balanced by knowing that I am making the best decision for me and for my family."
He noted the timing of the retirement announcement was not ideal given the pandemic crisis, but necessary given the political calendar.
"I look forward to continuing to be part of that process as our Conference navigates delicate and challenging budget issues and finishing our legislative session," Flanagan said. "Our residents and my constituents deserve no less."
There's no clear successor for the leadership. One possibility is Senator Joe Griffo, a Republican from the Utica area who serves as Flanagan's deputy.
Flanagan's retirement makes him the latest Republican lawmaker to announce plans to either retire or seek higher office later this year.
A wave of retirements has swept through the Republican conference in recent months in a chamber that has been previously known for its stability and long tenures.
Flanagan became the Republican leader in 2015, inheriting a razor-thin majority from fellow Long Islander Dean Skelos.
Skelos stepped aside after he was indicted in a federal corruption cases stemming from efforts to secure his son a job.
Flanagan, a genial Suffolk County lawmaker who had chaired the Senate Education committee, maintained the governing arrangement with the Independent Democratic Conference.
But that alliance proved fleeting after the 2016 election and President Donald Trump's election victory. The IDC dissolved as did its governing alliance with the GOP.
Senate Republicans lost their majority in the Democratic wave year of 2018.
Flanagan was able to maintain his leadership post, however, despite a challenge from then-Sen. Cathy Young.
The western New York Republican had led the Senate Republican fundraising efforts, but had a falling out with Flanagan during the election.