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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mark Grisanti
Member of the New York Senate
from the 60th district
In office
January 1, 2011 – December 31, 2014
Preceded byAntoine Thompson
Succeeded byMarc Panepinto
Personal details
Mark John Grisanti

(1964-10-21) October 21, 1964 (age 54)
Buffalo, New York, United States
Political partyDemocratic (before 2011)
Republican (2011-present)[1][2]
Spouse(s)Maria Grisanti[citation needed]
ChildrenOne daughter, one stepson, one stepdaughter[citation needed]
ResidenceBuffalo, New York, United States
Alma materThomas M. Cooley Law School
ProfessionLawyer, politician, judge

Mark John Grisanti (born October 21, 1964) is an American lawyer, politician, and judge from New York. After being elected to the New York State Senate in District 60 as a Republican in 2010, Grisanti took office as a State Senator on January 3, 2011. Grisanti served in the State Senate from 2011 to 2014, when he was defeated in the Republican primary and in the general election. Grisanti was appointed to the New York State Court of Claims in May 2015 and later became an Acting Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Eighth Judicial District.

Grisanti is notable as one of four Republican Members of the New York State Senate that voted in favor of the Marriage Equality Act in 2011.

Early life, education, and early career

Grisanti was born and raised in Buffalo, the youngest of six brothers and sisters. He graduated from Sweet Home High School, located in Amherst, New York, and attended Canisius College, located in Buffalo, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English. After finishing his undergraduate degree he received his Juris Doctor from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, located in Lansing, Michigan.

After graduating from law school, Grisanti worked at his father’s law firm that his grandfather had founded in 1921. As a third-generation attorney, he has worked at his family’s practice for over eighteen years. Grisanti first became interested in running for State Senate when practicing law on the lower-west side of Buffalo.[3]

Political career

2008 State Senate campaign

Grisanti was defeated in the 2008 Democratic primary for the 60th Senate District, losing heavily to Antoine Thompson, 72 to 28 percent;[4][5] Thompson went on to win the senate seat in the state's 2008 general election.[6]

2010 State Senate campaign

Grisanti stood for election to the State Senate again in the 2010 state senate elections; this time, he ran as a Republican.[1][2] His 525-vote victory over incumbent Senator Antoine Thompson, which was initially contested, was considered an upset.[7][8] Grisanti's victory helped the GOP obtain regain the Senate majority by a slender 32-30 margin.[9][10]

The 60th Senate District is the most Democratic-leaning of the all Republican-held Senate seats, with 104,000 registered Democrats and 22,000 registered Republicans.[7] Although Grisanti was a registered Democrat during the race, he received a waiver to run on the Republican line; after his victory, he agreed to caucus with Senate Republicans and switched his party registration to Republican.[1]

State Senate tenure

Grisanti received significant support and visibility from Senate Republicans, who engaged in a "Protect Grisanti" effort to increase his electability in the lead-up to the state's 2012 elections.[7]

On February 11, 2012, Grisanti and his wife were reportedly attacked at a fundraising gala held at the Seneca Niagara Casino by a casino shareholder who accused the senator of hating the Seneca nation, which owns the casino.[11] According to the New York Times, Sen. Grisanti's account of the events of February 11 was challenged by witnesses who claimed that the Senator was the aggressor.[12] While Sen. Grisanti expressed an intention to press charges following the incident, no charges were ever filed, and the matter was closed.[13]

In January 2013, Sen. Grisanti voted in favor of the NY SAFE Act, a controversial gun control measure.[14][15]

Same-sex marriage

During his 2010 Senate campaign, Grisanti declared himself to be "unalterably opposed" to same-sex marriage[16][17] and sought support from the National Organization for Marriage.[18] On May 17, 2011, it was reported that Grisanti had publicly stated that he would vote "no" on same-sex marriage.[19] On June 17, 2011, it was reported that he had changed his position on same-sex marriage to "undecided".[20] On June 24, 2011, Grisanti voted in favor of the Marriage Equality Act, which allows gender-neutral marriages for both same- and opposite-sex couples in New York, saying that he had researched the issue and that "a man can be wiser today than yesterday, but there can be no respect for that man if he has failed to do his duty." Grisanti was one of four Republican state senators that voted in favor of the Marriage Equality Act.[21][22]

Sen. Grisanti's marriage vote cost him the Conservative Party line, which provided his margin of victory in 2010.[23] Both the Conservative Party and the National Organization for Marriage endorsed Democrat Charles Swanick to run against Sen. Grisanti in 2012.[24] Despite this, Sen. Grisanti was re-elected in 2012.

In 2013, Grisanti was a signatory to an amicus curiae brief submitted to the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage in the Hollingsworth v. Perry case.[25]

2012 State Senate campaign

Grisanti faced a challenge in the Republican Primary for the 60th district from attorney Kevin Stocker of Kenmore, NY. Grisanti won the primary with a 60 percent to 40 percent margin after a campaign in which "much of the bitterest politicking had revolved around Grisanti's controversial 2011 vote to support legalizing same-sex marriage in the state."[26] "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.[26][27] Grisanti's primary campaign was more successful than the primary campaigns of the other two Senate Republicans who voted for same-sex marriage and ran for re-election;[28] Sen. Stephen Saland barely defeated his primary challenger,[29] while Sen. Roy J. McDonald was defeated by Kathy Marchione.[30]

Grisanti won re-election in the 2012 general election with 50% of the vote. The Democratic candidate, Michael L. Amodeo, came in second with 36% of the vote, while Conservative Party candidate Charles M. Swanick received 12% of the vote.

2014 State Senate campaign

Sen. Grisanti was defeated by Kevin Stocker in a Republican primary in September 2014.[31] While Sen. Grisanti remained in the 2014 general election race on a third-party line, he finished in third place in a hotly contested election; the winner, Democrat Marc Panepinto, received only 3,681 votes more than Grisanti did.[32]

Judicial career

In 2015, Grisanti was appointed to the New York State Court of Claims by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Grisanti's appointment was confirmed by the New York State Senate in May 2015.[33] As of October 2018, Grisanti serves as an Acting Justice of the New York State Supreme Court for the Eighth Judicial District.[34]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Fairbanks, Phil (November 11, 2010). "Grisanti's Loyalties Lean Toward Senate GOP – Democrat Could Hold Key to Albany Power". The Buffalo News. Archived from the original on November 24, 2010. Retrieved June 25, 2011. Grisanti confirmed late Tuesday his intention to caucus with Republicans if he is declared the winner of the contested race in the 60th District[...]. The registered Democrat also announced his intention to switch his party enrollment to Republican.
  2. ^ a b New York State Board of Elections (January 27, 2011). "NYS Board of Elections Senate Election Returns November 2, 2010" (PDF). p. 13. Archived from the original (PDF – 296 KB; requires Acrobat Reader) on August 23, 2012. Retrieved June 25, 2011. Mark J. Grisanti REP
  3. ^ Staff (n.d.). "Official Biography of Mark J. Grisanti". Archived from the original on September 9, 2011. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
  4. ^ Wozniak, Mark; Riedel, Howard (September 10, 2008). "Kryzan Wins Congressional Primary, Hoyt Holds Off Kavanaugh". WBFO. Archived from the original on June 25, 2011. Retrieved June 25, 2011. In the 60th district Democratic primary, incumbent Antoine Thompson defeated challenger Mark Grisanti 72 to 28 percent.
  5. ^ Scheer, Mark (September 7, 2008). "Election: Grisanti, Thompson Vie for Democratic Line Tuesday". Niagara Gazette. Archived from the original on June 25, 2011. Retrieved June 25, 2011. Tuesday’s Democratic primary between Grisanti and Thompson will likely be a winner-take-all affair.[...]There are no candidates on the Republican, Conservative or Independence lines.
  6. ^ "Election Results 2008". New York Times archives. Archived from the original on 11 May 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  7. ^ a b c Precious, Tom (June 13, 2011). "Style, Skill Give 'Marginal' Grisanti an Edge – A study in Contrasts, Freshman Senator Earns Respect from Colleagues on Both Sides of Aisle". The Buffalo News. Archived from the original on June 25, 2011. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
  8. ^ Gee, Denise Jewell (February 20, 2011). "The Mysterious $400,000 Grant – Thompson's Office Had Funds Redirected, and Documents Shed Light on Transaction". The Buffalo News. Archived from the original on June 25, 2011. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
  9. ^ Quint, Michael (2010-12-04). "New York Republicans Regain State Senate Majority as Judge Certifies Race". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 2011-11-21. Retrieved 2012-10-21.
  10. ^ [1] Archived February 8, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "State senator, wife attacked at western NY casino". Fox News. February 11, 2012. Archived from the original on April 22, 2012. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  12. ^ Eligon, John (February 13, 2012). "Grisanti's Account of Fracas at Seneca Casino Is Met With Objections". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 1, 2017. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  13. ^ "No Charges In Sen Grisanti Casino Scuffle". 26 February 2012. Archived from the original on 2 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  14. ^ "New York S02230 - 2013-2014 - General Assembly". LegiScan. Archived from the original on 2017-01-01. Retrieved 2016-12-31.
  15. ^ Precious, Tom (28 October 2014). "Candidates for governor using SAFE Act to show their philosophical differences". Archived from the original on 2 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  16. ^ Reader, Stephen. "Gay Marriage in NYS: Who are the Republican Targets?". WNYC. Archived from the original on 2011-08-24. Retrieved 2012-10-21.
  17. ^ "The Dangerous Duplicity of Sandy Beach | TEANewYork". 2011-11-15. Archived from the original on 2016-02-01. Retrieved 2012-10-21.
  18. ^ "NY state senator gets heat for 'taking the Catholic out' of his marriage vote :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)". Catholic News Agency. 2011-07-12. Archived from the original on 2013-04-28. Retrieved 2012-10-21.
  19. ^ Benjamin, Liz (May 17, 2011). "Grisanti Would Vote 'No' On Gay Marriage" Archived 2011-05-27 at the Wayback Machine. Capital Tonight (via Your News Now). Retrieved June 26, 2011.
  20. ^ Boose, Josh (June 17, 2011). "Grisanti Now 'Undecided' on Gay Marriage Bill" Archived 2013-02-09 at WGRZ. Retrieved June 26, 2011.
  21. ^ Jackson, Nicholas (24 June 2011). "New York Legislature Legalizes Gay Marriage in 33-29 Vote". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 25 October 2018. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  22. ^ Confessore, Nicholas; Barbaro, Michael (24 June 2011). "New York Allows Same-Sex Marriage, Becoming Largest State to Pass Law". Archived from the original on 17 May 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2018 – via
  23. ^ [2] Archived February 29, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ "National Organization For Marriage Backing Swanick". 2012-02-27. Archived from the original on 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2012-10-21.
  25. ^ Avlon, John (28 February 2013). "The Pro-Freedom Republicans Are Coming: 131 Sign Gay Marriage Brief" – via
  26. ^ a b "Deadlocked races for two GOPers who backed gay marriage in New York". Politico.Com. 2012-09-13. Archived from the original on 2014-04-07. Retrieved 2012-10-21.
  27. ^ Buffalo News Archived 2012-09-18 at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ Kaplan, Thomas (September 13, 2012). "Primary Results Close for 2 G.O.P. Legislators Who Voted for Same-Sex Marriage". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 26, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  29. ^ Kaplan, Thomas (November 7, 2012). "Republicans Try to Keep Control of New York State Senate". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 28, 2016. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  30. ^ Kaplan, Thomas (September 27, 2012). "Roy J. McDonald, Republican Who Voted for Gay Marriage, Won't Pursue Third-Party Bid". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 23, 2017. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  31. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-09-11. Retrieved 2014-09-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  32. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-01-10. Retrieved 2016-08-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  33. ^ "Mark Grisanti appointed to New York Court of Claims". WIVB-TV. Archived from the original on 10 May 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  34. ^ "8th Judicial District". Unified Court System. The State of New York. Archived from the original on October 25, 2018. Retrieved October 25, 2018.

External links

New York State Senate
Preceded by
Antoine Thompson
New York State Senate
60th District

Succeeded by
Marc Panepinto
Preceded by
Antoine Thompson
Chairman of the Committee on Environmental Conservation
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 25 September 2019, at 21:55
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