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John Duke: Thompson’s Advantages Over Kennedy

The prospect of a Democratic primary showdown between Antoine Thompson and State Senator Tim Kennedy won’t seem to go away; here at AV, we’ve received numerous telephone calls cataloging the pros and cons of each candidate, and making predictions on whether it will come to pass, and, if it does occur, what the result will be. Most of these calls were strictly on background, but trust John Duke of the First Amendment Club, who may be one of our area’s most accurate political prognosticators, to go on the record.
His prediction: “Thompson would win the contest walking away,” he says. “There isn’t a reason not to vote for Thompson or Kennedy, but the mathematics of the district are determined by its geography and history.”
Duke explains: “State Senator William Stachowski owned the 58th District for three decades before his defeat by Tim Kennedy. But some people might have forgotten that two years before Kennedy’s victory, Thompson helped Stachowski with troops and money to fend off Detective Dennis Delano, especially in the Latino areas south of Hampshire Street in the City of Buffalo. Stachowski, I’m sure, still remembers and might want to help Thompson and repay Kennedy at the same time. That’s the history.
“The geography is just as crucial,” he continues. “When the Republican State Senate ‘redistricted’ Western New York, they added four main areas to the 58th District: Old Polonia, all of the Niagara District, Allentown, and the East Side. Kennedy’s new district now has more Polish, Latinos, African-Americans, and LGBT people than any time in its past. Thompson has great relationships with three of the four groups, and Higgins fatigue has gripped South Buffalo, as illustrated by the defeat of Chris Fahey.
“Bill Stachowski and other Poles know well that what goes around comes around, and in Kennedy’s case that could mean disaster.”

  • The main reason Thompson lost last time is because he was the only State Senator in Western New York’s history to pay his Chief of Staff $80,000 and then have his Chief of Staff take off for a week to go to Jamaica while the Senate was in session. Grisanti along with WGRZ and the Buffalo News made Thompson pay the price.

  •  Nor

  • Noureen, I’m sorry to have to say you are correct. The State has Douglass Curella listed as Grisanti’s Chief of Staff and his salary listed at $96,000 (It’s a disgrace). He did miss 10 weeks after working only 4 months according to some Republicans. They believe he went to Wisconsin to study law. He became an attorney last month.  Obviously this is a matter for the New York State Inspector General’s Office. It is definitely a HUGE scandal. But I seriously doubt WGRZ or the Buffalo News know anything about this. They don’t play favorites. Have you tried talking to them?
    Thanks Noureen, you ruined my day.

  • tonyintonawanda

    The kid took some vacation and comp time to study for the bar exam.  Everything is documented.  And a leg staffer becoming a lawyer is good professional development that makes him a better aid.  Nice job in trying to equate that with a vacation in Jamaica that Antoine and  his staff tried to hide from the media.

    • Tony –  Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.

      I’d sure like a job where you get 10 weeks of vacation time after only 4 months on the job. Do all political aids get these taxpayer funded benefits? 

      • Is it true that this “kid” is only 26 years old making $100,000!!!!!! That’s f*cking outrageous!  Grisanti thinks that this is appropriate, and that taxpayers aren’t going to be chasing him with pitch forks?

        What world are they living in?

  • tonyintonawanda

    All members get equal staff allotment.  If you want to give it all to one person and have 50 part-timers, you can do it.  I don’t believe it was 10 weeks and if you ever worked in a leg office you build up a lot of comp time when you’re the go to person because you’re working 70 t0 80 hour weeks.

    This is all about being an effective legislator, which Grisanti is and Thompson wasn’t.  

  • Regardless of your political affiliation,  who could defend Antoine Thompson?
    Politicians don’t change their antics after losing one election. 


    John Duke worked for Antoine Thompson. Thompson
    worked for all the special interests including the Billionaire –  Howard Milstein  from 


    Apparently. Thompson is getting backing from Joel
    Giambra, Byron Brown, Steve Pigeon and Bruce Fisher. The same people that had
    tied up our NYS Senate with the likes  of  Hiram Monserrate – the now
    convicted felon from NYC and  Pedro
    Espada – the scam artist.


    Lets not forget the pay to play scandal where Thompson received $8600 from Aqueduct
    Entertainment Group (AEG), who was attempting to secure a lucrative state
    contract to operate a video slot machine casino at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens,
    New York


    You can’t sweep those facts under the rug no matter how hard we try.


    Lets face it Antoine Thompson will be sucking air out of the room as he
    tries to hid his past.  Voters will not
    get sandbagged again