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Battle lines being drawn in 60th Senate district

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Control of the State Senate next year may be decided in the 60th Senate district. After a pair of bruising primary battles, the race to the November election is expected to be fierce and expensive.

Right now, the district is represented by Senator Mark Grisanti, who lost the Republican primary last week to Kevin Stocker. Democrat Marc Panepinto beat former Senator Al Coppola in the Democratic primary.

Marc Panepinto is the Democratic candidate in the 60th Senate race.

Grisanti remains in the race on the Independence line. By primary day, the race had become nasty and is likely to get worse between now and the general election.

Stocker says he won because Grisanti had lost voter trust with his votes on gun control and gay marriage.

"He's lost his trust along the way with numerous things. I know, with me, he's constantly told people that I stand for things when I don't. So, he lost the trust. It's like a marriage, once you lose trust, the relationship's over," Stocker said.

That anger showed up after the polls closed on primary day. Grisanti lashed out at Stocker, though wouldn't get into specifics over some incidents.

"Me and Kevin Stocker use to be very good friends," Grisanti said.

"When Kevin Stocker had personal problems, personal problems, he actually came to me. We talked about it. He actually broke bread with me and my wife. We helped him through those hard, turmoil times. So you know what, when you talk about losing trust: How about having a friend who turns (his) back on you? That's a lack of trust."

Both candidates are going after Panepinto for a 2001 Election Law violation which led to him being suspended as a lawyer for 30 days.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.