Antoine Thompson opened his second campaign office today; this one in North Buffalo at 1889 Hertel Avenue. It’s a neighborhood that Thompson had represented as a state senator for several terms, and — assuming that the African American vote splits relatively evenly — it could play a pivotal role in his upcoming primary battle with Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes.
The opening of the headquarters was well attended, and Mr. Thompson clearly has a fervent, energetic, and committed campaign team. In classic Thompson style, the event was commemorated with motivational words of thanks, a rallying of the troops, and a prayer led by his mother.
Mr. Thompson announced a fundraiser — hosted by Anna Marie Sinatra and Carmen Palma — set for Thursday, August 21st, 2014 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at Geckos, located at 1484 Hertel Avenue ($25 contribution).
Peoples-Stokes enters primary season severely weakened by widespread criticism of her tenure. Despite serving under four Governors she is ineffective and lacks clout, her critics say. They point to her inability to secure any meaningful economic development projects on the Eastside — at a time when Governor Andrew Cuomo has been shoveling $1 billion for Buffalo into development projects.
The Assemblywoman even serves as the Governor’s statewide Co-Chairman of his reelection campaign. Observers wonder: with that kind of clout, how could she have nothing to show for it?
“It’s either laziness or a lack of political savvy,” says one longtime Eastside organizer.
The 141st Assembly district is the poorest in New York State and ranks first for population loss. All major indicators on crime, housing, schools, and violence have moved remarkably in the wrong direction since Peoples-Stokes took office in 2006.
Her public service stands in stark contrast to Thompson’s time in the State Senate, where he was wildly successful in securing environmental clean up funds, neighborhood housing grants, job training programs, and fought on behalf of non-profit groups across the city.
Thompson is certainly winning the race in terms of energy and grassroots manpower, but Peoples-Stokes has deep pocketed contributors and the endorsements of powerful Albany-based special interest groups.