Expelled ex-Sen. Hiram Monserrate may be gone, but he is far from forgotten.

Republican/Conservative state Senate hopeful Mark Grisanti (60th SD) sent out a mailer slamming his Democratic opponent, Buffalo Sen. Antoine Thompson, for donating $1,000 to his former Queens colleague’s legal defense fund. (Grisanti calls this “big money,” which I guess is an in-the-eye-of-the-beholder question, but that’s not a huge sum by Albany campaign cash standards).

The mailer, the second side of which appears after the jump, also hits Thompson for at first saying he voted against Monserrate’s expulsion and then later changing his tune to inform The Buffalo News that he actually had voted “yes” on expulsion. His explanation for the misunderstanding was that he was “sick and tired” when first approached by a reporter to discuss his vote.

The DSCC recently added a staffer to Thompson’s campaign at the senator’s request, a Democratic source confirmed. The staffer in question was relocated from Schenectady County Legislator Sue Savage’s campaign.

My source insisted this move was not an indication that Thompson is in trouble, but rather a sign that he has the favor of Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson, who is inclined to heed the requests of nervous incumbents – and they’re all nervous this year, regardless of political affiliation – to build and preserve loyalty.