Why Thompson Lost
by Geoff Kelly - posted 12:31 pm, November 26, 2010
The folks at the Buffalo News continue to maintain that Mark Grisanti beat Antoine Thompson for the 60th District State Senate seat because Carl Paladino’s candidacy brought lots of folks to the polls, Democrat and Republican, who were inclined to vote against Thompson (presumably because he’s black, because he’s the incumbent) and for Grisanti (presumably because he’s Italian, because he’s not the incumbent). Donn Esmonde offers the explanation again in his column today crediting Joel Giambra for master-minding Grisanti’s campaign:
Like him or not, there is no questioning Giambra’s political smarts. He knew he had an appealing candidate who connected with the independents and crossover Democrats whom Carl Paladino brought to the polls.
It’s a tidy theory, except that Andrew Cuomo won in the 60th State Senate District. There was no great outpouring of support for Paladino in the Erie County parts of the 60th District, but Grisanti performed very well in Erie County anyway. Paladino won resoundingly in the Niagara County section of the 60th District, as did Grisanti; Niagara County is more Republican that Erie County. True, many more Niagara County residents voted in the 60th District race this year than in 2006. But in 2006, more Niagara County residents voted in the gubernatorial election than did this year, so it seems to me that the increase in Niagara County votes in the 60th District race cannot be attributed to Paladino.
Giambra tells Esmonde that Thompson didn’t see this coming. I think Thompson’s campaign finance filings suggest otherwise. In 2008, Thompson’s campaign committee acted as a conduit, sending money to beleaguered Democratic colleagues like Bill Stachowski. That’s what you do when your own seat is in the bag and you’re helping to run one of your party’s statewide campaign committees. This year, Thompson spent almost exclusively on his own campaign. He knew he was in trouble.