Tonawanda News

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March 8, 2012

Stocker to challenge Grisanti

— — A Tonawanda attorney who ran a close race against longtime incumbent state Assemblyman Robin Schimminger in 2010 is now preparing to challenge state Sen. Mark Grisanti in the Republican primary.

Kevin Stocker, a private practice attorney who served as deputy attorney for the Town of Tonawanda from 1993 to 2006, and was Kenmore’s deputy attorney from 1992 to 2007, also ran for town judge in 2007 and Kenmore village judge in 2008 and 2009.

He said he plans to challenge fellow Republican Grisanti because, he said, Grisanti wasn’t honest with his constituents by changing course to support gay marriage last year.

“To me the issue isn’t about same sex marriage — the issue is keeping your word to voters,” he said.

He also criticized Grisanti, an erstwhile Democrat, for his switch to the Republican Party.

“I believe the race will come down to character, integrity, keeping one’s word and listening to what the voters want,” he said.

Schimminger edged out Stocker with 56 percent of the vote in the 2010 general election, when Stocker ran on a platform including ousting the longtime Democrat, as well as Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. His reform platform also included downsizing the state legislature and imposing term limits.

But, as before, Stocker said job creation and revitalizing Western New York’s economy is still sure to factor into his planned bid.

Still, he said details about the specific boundaries of what currently is the 61st Senate District haven’t been decided. He plans to petition for a run once time frames are set.

“A lot of things aren’t decided at this stage.”

 But, he said, whatever district boundaries are decided have little to do with the primary reason behind his intention to run, which is to “take power out of the hands of the political party bosses and put it into the hands of the voters.”

Grisanti has the support of the Independence Party and is expected to see the backing of the Erie County Republican Party.

Former Erie County Legislator Chuck Swanick, a Democrat, will run for the seat with endorsement from Conservatives.

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