A minor party that is supporting the Republican gubernatorial nominee and the GOP congressman in central New York has endorsed the Democratic candidate in a key Syracuse-area state Senate race.
The state Reform Party backed John Mannion in the 50th Senate District race, Mannion's campaign announced Monday.
Curtis Sliwa, chairman of the state Reform Party, explained the party's decision to endorse Mannion.
"Now more than ever Albany needs people like John, not career politicians, to reform the state Senate," Sliwa said in a statement.
It's the second minor party endorsement for Mannion, an Advanced Placement biology teacher at West Genesee High School in Camillus. He has already been endorsed by the Working Families Party.
Barring a last-minute challenge, Mannion won't face any opposition for the Democratic nomination. His general election opponent will either be Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci or Syracuse attorney Rick Guy, both of whom are vying for the Republican nomination.
Antonacci won the Republican designation after being endorsed by the Cayuga and Onondaga county GOP committees. But Guy is hoping to force a primary by petitioning his way onto the ballot.
Antonacci has two minor party endorsements. He will appear on the Conservative and Independence lines.
But the Reform Party's endorsement is a coup for Mannion in a race that is expected to be one of the most important contests as Democrats and Republicans eye control of the state Senate.
In 2016, the party endorsed state Sen. John DeFrancisco in the 50th Senate District race. DeFrancisco, R-DeWitt, didn't have an opponent in that election. He received 1,265 votes on the Reform line.
This year, the Reform Party is supporting Democrats and Republicans in races across the state. But in two other races that will draw significant attention in central New York, the party is backing Republicans.
The party endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro and GOP U.S. Rep. John Katko. The 50th Senate District is located within Katko's congressional district.
There aren't a large number of Reform Party voters in the 50th district. There were 29 active voters registered with the party as of April 1, according to the state Board of Elections. But any registered voter can cast a vote on the Reform line.
In a statement, Mannion thanked the Reform Party for its support.
"Dysfunction and backroom deals are at an all-time high and central New York is being left behind as a result," he said. "I look forward to representing regular working people as senator."
The 50th district is an open seat for the first time since 1992. DeFrancisco announced in April that he will not seek re-election this year.