After Republican Anthony Senft dropped out of consideration for the third Senate district on Long Island, North Islip Supervisor Tom Croci entered the race — a developed welcomed by Republican Senate leader Dean Skelos.

“I am extremely pleased that Tom Croci has decided to run for the New York State Senate,” Croci said. “His entry into this race is tremendous news for the residents of the 3rd district in Suffolk County and the hardworking families who call Long Island home. Tom Croci has provided exemplary leadership on the local level and served this country with honor and distinction, and he’ll make a fine addition to the State Senate.”

The move gives Skelos some breathing room after multiple Republican Senate candidates — including longtime incumbent George Maziarz — declined to run this week.

Croci will compete for the seat against Democratic candidate Adrienne Esposito, an environmental advocate.

The Suffolk County district is being vacated by Republican incumbent Lee Zeldin, who is running for the Congressional seat held by Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop.