Former State Senator Al Coppola has endorsed Mark Grisanti, throwing the Democratic Party organization into disarray — instigating feverish bickering among top party operatives.
Coppola, a long retired eleder statesman in local Democratic politics, nearly defeated Marc Panepinto (the party’s curiously endorsed candidate) in the primary. He came only 383 votes short, which indicated a Panepinto’s weakness and lack of support from the party organization.
Grisanti is expected to garner nearly as many Democratic party voters as Panepinto, whose floundering campaign has been dogged by criticisms relating to his 2001 conviction for election fraud, and his later participation in a 2006 election fraud scheme. His no bid legal work for the Poloncarz Administration, however, has nearly avoided scruitny.
Now — with the Coppola faction of the Democratic party breaking away from the Panepinto faction — it’s expected that each candidate will break the liberal vote evenly, giving former Prosecutor Kevin Stocker an easy win with his Republican nomination.
Stocker has strong support among Independent and moderate voters — and especially strong support among pro-gun Democrats and Republicans. Rumor has it that Stocker is way ahead in internal polling; though Panepinto has seemed to gain considerable ground ahead of incumabt Mark Grisanti.
The polling also shows that Republican voters have been flocking to Stocker, 9-to-1, which could indicate that Grisanti’s reelection is no longer viable.
The sentiment among most Democratic party political operatives has been one of exasperation and annoyance. Many are fed up with both Panepinto and Grisanti and are choosing to stay home. The party’s guberantorial candidates’ Cuomo and Hochul have been besieged by corruption allegations, which makes it difficult to motivate the rank-and-file.
Panepinto exaccerbated negative sentiments earlier this cycle when he sought to oust the current Democratic Party Chairman Jermey Zellner rather than unite the party, after winning the primary contest. Then came the allegations of sexual harrassment and payroll discrepancies by former staffers and volunteers.
Many party activists have called on Panepinto to step aside, and even the Buffalo News says that his election fraud conviction should disqualify his candidacy.
Grisanti’s campaign released this statement:
FORMER SENATOR BLASTS CANDIDATE
MARC PANEPINTO OVER
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE MAILER FROM NYSUT
Knows “unequivocally” that Panepinto knew of and approved mailer
(BUFFALO NEW YORK) Former New York State Senator Al Coppola today condemned a mail piece sent to residents of the 60th Senate District by VOTE-COPE, the political arm of New York State United Teachers, and called on State Senate candidate Marc Panepinto to come clean on the mailer.
“I’ve been involved with Western New York politics for over 30 years, and I’ve never seen a piece of mail that is so reprehensible,” said Coppola. “Marc Panepinto can denounce the piece all he wants, now that it’s already hit mailboxes. What he should have done is stopped the mail piece in its tracks the moment he knew about it, which was before it was sent out.”
The mail piece, which depicted a battered woman, was aimed at incumbent Senator Mark Grisanti, Panepinto’s opponent in the upcoming election on November 4th. Widely condemned across party lines, the mail piece falsely accused Grisanti of failing to enact legislation to protect women and women’s rights.
“I know Mark Grisanti‘s father, and I’ve known Mark for many, many years,” said Coppola. “Like his father, Mark Grisanti is a man of great integrity and character. This mail piece sent by NYSUT and approved by Panepinto has sent politics to a new low. This insults the hardworking teachers of this community and is clearly an act of desperation meant to deceive voters and to smear an excellent senator and a good man.”
Coppola, whose wife was a long-time teacher, said his wife and her colleagues would be sickened by the mail piece depicting the face of a battered woman if she were alive today.
“I believe that teachers are the backbone of our society, and I have nothing but the greatest respect for them,” said Coppola. “NYSUT, on the other hand, clearly has crossed the line of what is acceptable in political campaigns, as has Marc Panepinto.”
Coppola believes Mark Grisanti is the most honest and trustworthy candidate in the 60th Senate District race, and is encouraging voters across all party lines to support Grisanti.
“Candidates talk about character, but Mark Grisanti has proven time and time that he is the only candidate in this race who has earned the opportunity to represent the residents of the district,” said Coppola. “I wholeheartedly ask the voters of the 60th Senate District to join me in supporting Mark Grisanti for re-election.”
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