By Robert J. McCarthy
The New York State Independence Party -- as expected -- announced its backing Thursday for re-election of Republican State Sen. Mark J. Grisanti of Buffalo this year.
But tea party activist Rus Thompson of Grand Island -- who is enrolled in the Independence Party and is closely aligned with 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl P. Paladino -- said he may very well challenge Grisanti for the line in the Independence primary. He said he would also consider a challenge if Republican County Legislator Kevin R. Hardwick of the City of Tonawanda decides to enter a Republican primary against Grisanti.
Thompson said he has made no final decision, but has the ability to qualify for the ballot as a registered member of Independence.
Meanwhile state Independence Chairman Frank MacKay followed his 2012 backing for Grisanti wtih another endorsement this year.
"We are confident that Senator Grisanti will be successful in November, and the Independence Party will gladly provide our endorsement, support, resources, and anything else that he needs to continue to be an independent voice for the people of Western New York," said MacKay.