In an ad uploaded to YouTube yesterday evening, Sen. Mark Grisanti prominently features Gov. Andrew Cuomo that highlight’s the Republican as an “independent.”

The spot shows Cuomo congratulating Grisanti for successfully pushing UB2020, a long-sought proposal for the University at Buffalo that allowed the campus to pursue broader economic development projects.

“UB 2020: One example of the good things that can happen when one independent senator puts people first, not politics,” says the ad’s narrator, who emphasizes the word “independent.”

His party affiliation isn’t mentioned.

Cuomo, of course, was able to get the freshman lawmaker to vote in favor of same-sex marriage in June 2011.

Grisanti’s Twitter account sent out a link to the ad right after Cuomo released a letter to Sen. Roy McDonald, another pro-gay marriage Republican, writing that he would back him in the general election this fall.

Coincidental timing? Perhaps. But there are some parallels, considering the governor has praised all four Republicans who voted for the marriage law last year.

Unlike McDonald, Grisanti easily won his primary against a more socially conservative challenger. Grisanti also has the lion’s share of the campaign cash in the three-way race, which features Democrat Mike Amodeo and Conservative Party nominee Chuck Swanick.

Grisanti is running in a heavily Democratic Senate district that he narrowly won in 2010. Democrats feel they have a very good shot at picking up the seat, thanks in part to their overwhelming enrollment advantage.

And Grisanti’s campaign clearly believes that by emphasizing his ties and relationship with the popular Democratic governor he can win over non-GOP voters.

Still, Grisanti isn’t the only Republican to use Cuomo in his campaign. Sen. Tom Libous, the number two Republican in the chamber, prominently features Cuomo in his campaign ads.