Former State Senator Antoine Thompson resigned his position as Executive Director of the City of Buffalo’s Employment Training Center effective last Friday, so that he could run for State Assembly in this September’s Democratic Primary.
The move has shocked the political community, particularly because the incumbent Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Mr. Thompson are both thought to be close to Mayor Byron Brown and the political operative G. Steven Pigeon. The situation is indicative of a broader political instability within the Eastside’s political power structure, known as Grassroots.
Some operatives expected Mr. Thompson to run for State Senate, from which he was ousted in a shocking 2010 upset to Republican Mark Grisanti. But Mr. Thompson’s relationships with downstate Democrats are worn, so the calculation is that an Assembly win could prove Thompson’s renewed political viability.
On Monday, Mr. Thompson held an open organizational meeting on East Delevan at Suffolk, where he invited all interested to attend.
Katrinna Martin, the Eastside political operative who managed Eddie Egriu’s feisty congressional primary against Rep. Brian Higgins, and her fundraising vehicle “Delta Committee”, have already announced their support of Mr. Thompson. She is currently taking meetings with deep pocketed powerbrokers, and is expected to play an aggressive role.
An intense Assembly primary on Buffalo’s Eastside could inadvertently help County Legislator Betty Jean Grant, who is again challenging Senator Tim Kennedy in this year’s Democratic primary. That race is expected to be intense and have implications on which party controls the State Senate. Kennedy caucuses with the Democrats and Ms. Grant is receiving support from the Independent Democratic Caucus, which caucuses with the Republicans.
Meanwhile, this video has been floating around Buffalo’s political circles, and briefly appeared on Mr. Egriu’s YouTube page: