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Aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo mocks senator’s hairline

Republican Sen. John DeFrancisco has thrown his hat

Republican Sen. John DeFrancisco has thrown his hat into the governor's race. Credit: AP / Mike Groll

It didn’t take long for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s staff to take a personal shot at a Republican running for governor.

On the day Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) announced his candidacy and called Cuomo “no friend of the taxpayer,” Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi criticized not the substance of the claim, but the senator’s personal appearance, saying on Twitter Tuesday: “That statement is about as real as his hairline.”

DeFrancisco said it showed the Cuomo administration’s propensity for personal attacks.

“It’s a perfect Cuomo response because when faced with a logical argument, he has no logical retort. So he has to go to a personal type of comment,” DeFrancisco, who wears a hairpiece, reportedly told the media after his campaign kickoff announcement in Syracuse.

“I know how to play hardball,” DeFrancisco said. “If [Cuomo] wants to throw pitches at my head, he better duck, too.”

DeFrancisco is among three Republicans now in the race, joining Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R-Canandaigua) and former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra.

DeFrancisco wasn’t the only one who objected to the Cuomo aide’s remarks.

Josh Mohrer, the former general manager of Uber in New York, responded on Twitter to Azzopardi that even though he disagreed with DeFrancisco, “insulting his appearance is a bad look and offensive to me as your supporter.”

Reached Wednesday for a follow-up question, Azzopardi didn’t address the criticism, but said he was reacting to DeFrancisco’s claim that Cuomo was “no friend of the taxpayer.”

Azzopardi said Cuomo has signed a property tax cap, approved a law to encourage local governments to stay within the cap and increased state spending at a slower rate than recent predecessors.

And Azzopardi again took a shot at the senator. “I was merely pointing out everything that was fake,” Azzopardi said.