Once upon a time, Buffalo Sen. Mark Grisanti was a top target – if not THE top target – for the Senate Democrats.

That made sense, considering the fact that back in 2010, Grisanti, a Democrat-turned-Republican, had ousted a Democratic senator (Antoine Thompson) in one of the state’s most Democrat-dominated districts outside NYC.

Despite the Republicans’ best redistricting efforts to assist Grisanti, shunting as many Democrats as possible into Sen. Tim Kennedy’s district, (particularly African Americans, which helps explain Kennedy’s tight primary race with Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant) the 60th SD remains Democrat-dominated.

That split, coupled with the fact that conservatives are angry with Grisanti for his “yes” vote last summer on same-sex marriage, made it seem like the senator was pretty vulnerable.

The Democrats were so eager to oust Grisanti that they flirted with the idea of supporting former Erie County Legislator Chuck Swanick, even though he was: 1) backed by the Conservatives, 2) opposed to gay marriage and abortion rights, and 3) connected to longtime WNY Democratic operative Steve Pigeon, who played a key role in the 2009 Senate coup.

But Swanick ended up losing the Democratic line to Mike Amodeo, who hasn’t ruled out joining forces with the IDC – not exactly something that endears him to DSCC Chair Mike Gianaris.

Yesterday, a Siena poll found Grisanti has a double-digit lead in the 60th SD race, thanks to the fact that it’s a four-person contest. (The WFP tried and failed to get its candidate, Greg Davis, off Row D and give it to Amodeo, and so is now merely able to urge supporters to vote for him on Row A).

During a CapTon interview last night, Gianaris seemed to suggest the DSCC has decided not to expend its limited resources on Amodeo, although he also said that could change if the race gets closer in the coming weeks.

“We have the luxury have having ample opportunities all around this state,” Gianaris told me.

“..There’s two Democratic-held seats for which the Republicans are competing. There’s probably six or seven Republican-held seats that we are going to be competing in. So we have an embarrassment of riches in terms of opportunities to look at. And we’re going to take advantage of them, even if a particular district becomes less appeaking as one in which to invest. There are plenty of others to choose from.”

When asked if the Democrats now plan on giving Grisanti a pass, Gianaris replied:

“We’re certainly not taking him off the target list. I’m reacting to your question about the poll, which showed things more challenging because it is in fact a split ticket scenario. Mark Grisanti’s still under 50 percent, which is the barometer by which an incumbent would be measured in terms of their vulnerability.”

“We’re still looking at it. We’re going to let the data drive the decision making. If that looks like it is one of our top chances for success, we’ll certainly be there.”

Gianaris Discusses Grisanti Race>> (TWC ID required)

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