Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan on Tuesday endorsed his deputy in the Republican conference, John DeFrancisco, in his bid to become the next governor.

“John DeFrancisco is a strong, smart and principled leader for New York, and I am confident he possesses the character and the skill set to be an outstanding governor,” Flangan said in a statement. “I am pleased and proud to endorse his candidacy, and urge my fellow Republicans to organize and energize behind him.”

Flanagan narrowly defeated DeFrancisco in 2015 during the internal conference vote for Republican leader to succeed the scandal-scarred Dean Skelos. The vote exposed an upstate-downstate rift in the normally unified conference in the state Senate. DeFrancisco is from Syracuse, Flanagan is from Suffolk County.

Flanagan had also toyed with a potential run for governor and has been named over the years as a potential statewide candidate.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, is seeking a third term. DeFrancisco is seeking the GOP nomination for governor alongside former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra.