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Amodeo's new financial report shows troubles

By Tom Precious

ALBANY – What does it say about a campaign that spent $12.50 at a pizza restaurant to feed volunteers?

Either the volunteers weren’t all that hungry, or there weren’t many of them.

So goes the money ways for Democrat Mike Amodeo, whose fundraising and expenditure report for his 60th Senate district campaign has now shown up on the web site of the state elections board.

The latest round of fundraising reports for his opponents, including incumbent Sen. Mark Grisanti, a Republican, all were posted on the state board’s web site last Friday.

A look this morning at Amodeo’s submission shows money woes. Besides the fact that the central Senate Democratic campaign committee appears to be writing off his campaign with no vows of financial support yet -- while Senate Republicans donated at least $200,000 the past several weeks to Grisanti’s effort -- the Hamburg lawyer raised only $11,900 in the past several weeks.

Continue reading "Amodeo's new financial report shows troubles" »

Prodding Albany in the 60th Senate District race

Mike Amodeo, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican Mark Grisanti in the 60th Senate district, is drawing attention this week to the status of a measure that would further boost the efforts of historic rehabilitators and preservationists across the state.

Amodeo has sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, asking for quick action on a measure known as the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit, or HRTC. The measure would lift the maximum dollar figure on the tax credit available to developers and rehabbers from $5 million to $12 million. The measure builds on legislation that was approved several years ago.

 Amodeo urged Skelos to send the measure – which was sponsored by Grisanti earlier this year – to the governor for a signature, arguing that it is holding up the creation of new jobs in Western New York.

 "I am imploring you on behalf of the residents of Buffalo and the 60th Senate District to advance this historic rehabilitation tax credit bill immediately,” stated Amodeo, a Hamburg attorney, in his letter, “so economic development can continue and prevailing wage jobs can be restored to Buffalo.”

A spokesman for Senate Republicans contradicted the notion that the GOP is in any way holding up the measure.

"Not only does Mike Amodeo oppose the Governor's property tax cap, but he has no understanding of how the legislative process actually works," the spokesman, Scott Reif, said in an email to The Buffalo News. "The Legislature works with the Governor's office to ensure that their counsel has adequate time to review each of the hundreds of bills that are passed every year, and they simply haven't requested this bill yet."

--- Charity Vogel


Video: The governor & Grisanti

An interesting commercial has hit the airwaves. Political Reporter Bob McCarthy talks with The News' Brian Meyer about developments in Mark Grisanti's bid to retain his seat in the State Senate.


Grisanti in TV ads, Amodeo looking for contributions

Republican Mark J. Grisanti’s campaign to retain the 60th Senate district seat includes a new TV ad that draws heavily on the working relationship between Grisanti and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat.

The ad, called “Independent,” first aired last night, during 5 p.m. news broadcasts on local network affiliates.

It begins with a clip of Cuomo standing at a podium during a 2011 event, praising Grisanti for his support. The ad goes on to tout UB 2020 as “one example of what good things can happen” with Grisanti in office.

After a few shots of Grisanti talking to constituents, the ad ends with Cuomo’s voice saying, “Mark Grisanti, thank you for your leadership.”

The not-spelled-out-overtly subtext of the ad? Grisanti’s key role in supporting the same-sex marriage legislation that Cuomo advanced – legislation that was controversial with many voters.

It was produced by Cookfair Media at David Collins Productions in Williamsville, campaign sources said.


In the campaign of Mike Amodeo, the Democratic challenger for Grisanti’s seat, there are no TV ads currently in the works.

That will come soon, campaign sources said, but right now Amodeo is working on raising money to pay for the TV spots and mailers he hopes to start putting out in the near future.

“Right now, we’re just in the collecting money stage,” said Amodeo, an attorney who lives in Lake View and who has never held political office, but who defeated Charles M. Swanick and Alfred Coppola for the Democratic line in November. “We’re trying to raise as much money as we can.”

--Charity Vogel

60th Senate race developments

A few campaign moments from around the 60th Senate district race:

Incumbent Republican Senator Mark J. Grisanti will attend a kickoff celebration this evening for the new season of Buffalo Niagara Partnership 360, the young professionals arm of the group. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Hotel Lafayette.

Also, on Saturday, Grisanti will serve as the honorary race starter for a race that will be a major fundraiser for area snowmobiling enthusiasts. The race will be held at the Shawnee Volunteer Fire Company on Lockport Road in Sanborn. Snowmobilers locally and around the state say they are suffering for trail-upkeep funds in the wake of last year’s tough snow-less winter. They are hoping to raise sizable funds with Saturday’s event.

Mike Amodeo, the Hamburg attorney who is challenging Grisanti in November’s election on the Democratic line, released a statement on Wednesday critical of spending by Albany politicians on mailings from their elective offices. Amodeo, in the statement, said he would use social media and email to reach constituents, if elected. “Frankly, this is a slap in the face to the taxpayers of his district,” Amodeo stated in the released statement. “That money could have been spent on historic rehabilitation projects, waterfront development or supporting cancer research.”

-- Charity Vogel


Video: Grisanti wins GOP primary

Incumbent Republican State Sen. Mark Grisanti won his party's primary for November's general election.

Gay rights group releases endorsements

ALBANY – The state’s major gay rights lobbying organization has released its political endorsements for this fall, and two Western New York lawmakers made the list.

Senator Mark Grisanti of Buffalo is the sole Senate Republican backed by the Empire State Pride Agenda, the group announced today. Grisanti switched his position last year and backed legalization of gay marriage rights. [Three other Senate Republicans crossed party lines to also back the law; of those, one is retiring and the other two incumbents – Steve Saland and Roy McDonald – did not receive the Empire Pride’s endorsement today.]

Senator Tim Kennedy, a South Buffalo Democrat, was the only other lawmaker from Western New York backed by the group. No Assembly member from the region made the endorsement list.
Grisanti was one of only two Republicans – the other is a North Country Assemblywoman – getting the group’s endorsement.

Erica Pelletreau, a spokeswoman for the gay rights organization, said other endorsements could still be coming later in the election season.

-- Tom Precious

Grisanti fight makes for a song

ALBANY -- Last night's Legislative Correspondents Association show, an annual skit poking fun at Albany's politicians, zeroed heavily in on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. (Lots of shoutouts, though, have been going to state GOP Chairman Ed Cox, who, while wearning a Richard Nixon mask, did an updated Watergate scene involving Cuomo's anticipated 2016 presidential bid; the normally stiff Cox is the son-in-law of the late former president.)

There was little doubt Sen. Mark Grisanti's infamous brawl at the Seneca Nation's Niagara Falls casino would be part of the show, and reporters did not disappoint.

So, here's the script of the song "Casino Fighting,'' to the music of "Kung Fu Fighting.'' The "Parker" reference in the song is Sen. Kevin Parker, who has earned a reputation for his fiery ways:

"Everybody’s casino fighting

Those cats was fast as lightning

In fact it was a little bit frightnin'

Continue reading "Grisanti fight makes for a song" »

The Read: What they're saying about WNY

HuffPost poked a little fun at Byron Brown. The governor defended his promise for Buffalo. Mark Grisanti continued to make news. Here's a roundup of some recent political headlines from outside the WNY.

David Murray of the Huffington Post offers a tongue-in-cheek review of how municipal leaders fill up their annual “State of the City” addresses when many don’t have much good to say. He references Mayor Byron W. Brown’s Feb. 15 speech, in which Brown announced his call for local employers to hire at least one city resident this year. Brown’s announcement landed under the heading “Paint a picture of hope -- bold, yet fuzzy -- and then propose an idea so feeble that it makes people giddy.” - How to Write the State of the Town Speech, Feb. 22

Continue reading "The Read: What they're saying about WNY" »

The Read: What they're saying about WNY

Mark Grisanti, Mark Grisanti and Mark Grisanti. The casino incident involving the state senator got national and even international coverage and was a big part of this week's political headlines. Here's a look at what others said about it this week:

HuffPost’s New York editor-at-large writes, “For an unremarkable freshman state senator, Grisanti has a lot of statewide, even nation-wide, significance.” -- Casino Brawl Business as Usual for New York State Legislature, Feb. 16

Seneca Nation President Robert Odawi Porter writes in Indian Country Today in response to the Grisanti episode that “several media outlets” are “reverting to salacious stereotypes” in their coverage of the Grisanti story with headlines “such as, ‘Indians on the Warpath’ and ‘Indian Whomp-‘em,’ and peppering their stories with other unseemly descriptions of my people.” -- Seneca President Robert Odawi Porter Comments on Casino Incident, Feb. 17

At Capitol Confidential, the Albany Times Union's Capitol Bureau Chief Casey Seiler writes about changes in Porter's public statements the day after the incident. "When an update to the News’ story revealed that the incident had resulted in Maria Grisanti heading to the hospital on Saturday for an MRI and other treatment, Porter decided a slightly more, um, sympathetic tone might be in order."-- Seneca leader: Uh, what I meant to say was…, Feb. 11

At City & State, Grisanti was named one of this week's "losers" in their "Winners & Losers" feature. "It might be too muddy to end up hurting his 2012 re-election effort –- but it hardly helps," the blog said of the situation. -- Winners & Losers, Feb. 17

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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri |

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski |