And - as a Conservative - Swanick is still in the mix.
That's the bottom line, after a costly and hotly fought primary race in the 60th State Senate District that touched on more emotional issues such as values, ethics and personal integrity, along with bread-and-butter topics like jobs and spending.
And in a tight race for the 63rd State Senate District, incumbent Timothy M. Kennedy appeared to be the victor over Betty Jean Grant by 271 votes, with 100 percent of 21,573 votes counted. That Democratic primary ensures the winner a seat because there is no Republican candidate in the general election.
"We're confident that the lead we have tonight is going to sustain any challenge," Kennedy said. "My opponent is a very formidable candidate - she ran a tough race."
The Senate district that was being watched across the state, however, with two primaries drawing substantial campaign investments, was the 60th.
Mark J. Grisanti scored a comfortable victory - 60 to 40 percent - over his rival in the Republican primary, while Hamburg attorney Michael L. Amodeo defeated Charles M. Swanick and Alfred T. Coppola on the Democratic line.
"I am proud to be the Democratic choice," Amodeo said in J.P. Fitzgerald's restaurant on Clark Street in Hamburg for a post-vote party attended by about 70 people. "But this is just halftime. We've got a whole other half to play."
Grisanti entered the SoHo Burger Bar on West Chippewa Street in downtown Buffalo, flanked by family members, and declaring victory.
"I'm not going to get into the nasty stuff that was portrayed about me and my family," he said. "I've stayed above the fray."
The outcomes of the two primary races are significant because they may factor into a potentially huge political plum: control of the State Senate after Jan. 1.
"No question about it, the outcome of this race in November could well decide control of the New York State Senate," said Kevin R. Hardwick, a Republican member of the County Legislature who teaches politics and government at Canisius College. "In recent years, Democrats have only held the Senate for a couple of years - and it was a very rocky two years at that. They're licking their chops - they're looking to get back in power."
It also helps Amodeo that the district is overwhelmingly Democratic in registration.
But as the primary season hoopla crested to a finale late Thursday, more than a few political insiders were left wondering what the fallout - in purely practical terms - will be for both parties, now moving into the general election season.
In short: Are voters already burned out by all of this?
Maybe, some said. And at least one insider predicted that it might be harder for Republicans than Democrats to pick up the pieces and move on.
"Primaries in the Democratic Party are different than in the Republican Party. They're expected in the Democratic Party. They're not, in the Republican Party," said Carl J. Calabrese, a Republican former deputy Erie County executive who supported Grisanti in Thursday's vote.
"Because they're not expected, they tend to be nastier. Bad blood tends to linger longer in the Republican Party over primary fights."
With that, the results of State Senate voting in Thursday's elections.
60th Senate District
In hotly contested primaries in the 60th District, which spans towns including Grand Island, the Tonawandas, Orchard Park, Hamburg, Evans, Brant, as well as a portion of Buffalo, both Grisanti and Amodeo won solid victories.
In the Democratic primary, Amodeo won over Swanick and Coppola, with 58 percent of the vote, after 96 percent of votes were tallied. Swanick had 26 percent, Coppola 15 percent.
During the campaign, Swanick had touted his long track record in the County Legislature and downplayed his switching of political parties - he had been a Democrat, then in 2003 became a Republican, then changed back to Democrat.
Amodeo, supported by County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, had argued that such flipping made Swanick a bad choice to represent the district at the state level.
He promoted himself as a fresh start.
"When you're going into a Democratic primary," Amodeo said, "you're talking strong Democratic voters, and they realize [Swanick's] party-switching for personal gain was something that we didn't want to bring to Albany."
In the Republican 60th Senate District primary, Grisanti won over Kevin T. Stocker, 60 percent to 40 percent, with 96 percent of votes counted.
During the campaign, much of the bitterest politicking had revolved around Grisanti's controversial 2011 vote to support legalizing same-sex marriage in the state.
"We took the high road, because we don't care about the smut, we care about what is important for the residents of Western New York," Grisanti said.
Swanick already had locked down the Conservative line and will be on that line in the November election.
On the Working Families line, Gregory L. Davis was unopposed.
On the Independence Party line, Grisanti won 68 percent of the vote over Marie C. Clark, with 22 percent, and Brian J. Siklinski, with 10 percent, with 96 percent of the votes tallied.
63rd Senate District
Grant is asking for a recount in the Democratic primary in the 63rd District."It's not over yet," she told a Buffalo News reporter.
Grant, vice chairwoman of the county party, had criticized what she called Kennedy's connection to the policies of former County Executive Chris Collins, a Republican. She portrayed herself as the "true blue" Democrat in the contest.
62nd Senate District
Sen. George D. Maziarz took a step toward winning his 10th term as he repulsed the challenge of tea party-backed Johnny G. Destino in a Republican primary in the 62nd District.
Maziarz was leading Destino, 67 percent to 33 percent, with 86 percent of the vote tallied in Niagara County. Maziarz also had strong results in the Monroe County portion of the district, where he carried 64 percent of the vote, and in Orleans County, where he rolled up 82 percent. Returns from the latter two counties were complete but unofficial.
"It's an overwhelming victory. I appreciate everybody's support and I look forward to November," Maziarz said. The Newfane Republican moves on to the general election against Democratic nominee Amy Hope Wityrol, whom Maziarz routed in 2010.
News Staff Reporters Thomas J. Prohaska, Kathleen Ronayne and Harold McNeil contributed to this report. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Grisanti, Amodeo win big in 60th
Kennedy appears to earn slim victory over Grant in 63rd Senate District duel
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