4 Lawyers Vie for State Senate Seat in Buffalo


New York’s most contested legislative race is in Buffalo, where voters will choose among four lawyers in the 60th Senate District that includes part of the city and suburbs north and south.

Republican, Democratic and Conservative Party candidates are on the ballot, plus the incumbent who has been all those and is running now only on the Independence line.

Control of the 63-seat Senate is also hotly contested this fall, and the switch of one or two seats will determine whether Democrats or Republicans are in control.

Sen. Mark Grisanti said he’s not sure whom he’ll align with if re-elected and his goal is to keep projects and money heading to western New York.

“Wherever I feel that is in the best position for me to represent my district as fully as possible,” Grisanti said. He caucused the past four years with the Republicans, who formed a majority coalition with a handful of breakaway Democrats. “Nobody wants to be in a minority position.”

Grisanti was one of four senators who broke Republican ranks and voted with Democrats to pass Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s bill on immorality in 2011. He’s the last of the four still in the Legislature. He also voted for Cuomo’s gun control law two years ago, another vote that cost him support among conservatives, but said he doesn’t regret either.

Cuomo said last week that he hasn’t decided whether to endorse Grisanti.

Kevin Stocker, who beat Grisanti for the Republican nomination, said he won’t be beholden to any political bosses or officials, only constituents. After losing to Grisanti in a primary two years ago, he said he visited 18,000 houses in the district where he emphasized Second Amendment rights.

“The voters don’t want the party labels. They don’t want the corruption the political party bosses offer,” Stocker said. “I will have no friends when it comes to party bosses and other elected officials.”

Marc Panepinto says he’s a good Democrat in a majority Democratic district. He wants to raise the minimum wage and codify Roe v. Wade. And Conservative Timothy Gallagher is on the ballot as a clear representative of the party’s values though he’s not been actively campaigning so far.

“I’m in it till the end,” Gallagher said Thursday. “If they ask me to step it up, I’m more than happy to.”