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Erie County Conservatives appear to be biding their time in the volatile race for 60th State Senate seat now held by Republican Mark J. Grisanti by endorsing a potential “placeholder” candidate Thursday.

Attorney Timothy D. Gallagher received the party nod, according to Chairman Ralph C. Lorigo, who would not delve into a future course for the party. But it is common practice for parties in New York to nominate attorneys when the situation is still unclear because they can be later removed from the ballot via a nominal nomination to Supreme Court anywhere in the state.

Lorigo did acknowledge the party was unable to get behind Grisanti.

Attorney Kevin T. Stocker is challenging Grisanti in the party primary, and Gallagher’s endorsement allows the party to revisit the situation following the September election. Lorigo said County Legislator Kevin R. Hardwick, R-Tonawanda, who has said he is also exploring a candidacy, did not apply for the party nod.

In the 63rd Senate District now represented by Democrat Timothy M. Kennedy, Lorigo said no endorsement is forthcoming because nobody applied. Kennedy faces a primary from County Legislator Betty Jean Grant and possibly others.

In another significant move, the Conservatives will back one of their own – Cheektowaga Councilwoman Angela Wozniak – for the 143rd Assembly seat vacated in January by Democrat Dennis H. Gabryszak.

The party will back Republican Patrick M. Galllivan for the 59th Senate District and Republican Michael H. Ranzenhofer in the 61st Senate District. Neither has a Democratic opponent at this point.

Assembly incumbents again receiving the Conservative nod include Democrats Robin L. Schimminger and Michael P. Kearns, and Republicans Jane L. Corwin, John D. Ceretto, Raymond W. Walter and David J. DiPietro.

The party will also back Democrat Margaret Szczur for Family Court judge, Democrat Peter J. Savage III for District 3 in the County Legislature, Democrat Thomas P. Amodeo for chief judge in Buffalo City Court and Democrats Patrick M. Carney and Barbara Johnson Lee for associate judge of City Court.

email: rmccarthy@buffnews.com