Sources out of the New York State Senate say Monday's vote to replace embattled leader Dean Skelos was a tight one and local Senator James Seward's vote was instrumental in keeping the leadership of the Republican run senate on Long Island.

Seward (Oneonta, NY51) was among a handful of upstate Republicans who reportedly voted against for John Flanagan as majority leader.  Many upstate were hoping for John DeFrancisco of Syracuse to become the first majority leader from that city since the 19030's.

Seward seemed to gloss over the vote when speaking with Keeler saying, "by the time the vote got to (him) it was already decided."  Keeler challenged that point and asked about inside sources who say 2 Long Island senators threatened to retire if Flanagan wasn't elected, which would most likely lead to the Republicans losing their majority in the Senate.

The issue of the NY Safe Act was also brought up.  Gun rights groups were asking Seward not to vote for Flanagan, because he voted to approve the legislation which places  further restrictions on guns and ammunition.  Seward said he had a conversation with Flanagan about the Safe Act and feels that he will be instrumental in revising it and passing legislation that would remove elements of it.

"I even had a conversation with him about coming up and visiting Remington in Ilion," Seward said.

Listen to the complete interview below.

Republican Senator Joseph Griffo (Rome, NY47) was on First News with Keeler in the Morning later in the program and he said he voted for DeFrancisco.  Griffo said he felt it was an important vote for Upstate; however, he said he's confident Flanagan will be an effective leader.

Listen to Griffo's interview below, as well as Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi's comments, who praised Flanagan.


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