Panepinto refuses to step aside, causing party rift

The embattled freshman State Senator Marc Panepinto has not indicated whether or not he will step aside after a single term. Political experts say that Panepinto is among the weakest Democrats that the party could run for the highly competitive 60th Senate district. Kevin Stocker, the noted attorney and former town prosecutor, polls very strongly against Panepinto, who is blemished by a history of election fraud convictions and a high profile ethical lapse during his short time in office.

Former Senator Al Coppola is expected to challenge Panepinto for the nomination, and even Panepinto’s political allies conceded that Coppola would fare better in the general election. Known as “the last honest politician” since his days on the Common Council, Coppola has emerged as an elder statesman of local politics.

Some of Panepinto’s own backers privately chat about the possibility that he step aside, expecting deep scrutiny of his donor lists and his wife’s jurisprudence on the State Supreme Court. With a united party, observers say that Coppola could win the general with a 20-pt margin. That is unclear, particularly with Stocker, who has fielded energetic campaigns.

Panepinto has been besiged by an ethics scandal, in which he lobbied to make changes to insurance law that would have benefited his law practice.
Panepinto has been besiged by an ethics scandal, in which he lobbied to make changes to insurance law that would have benefited his law practice.
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