Former Mayor James D. Griffin is emerging as the area's main booster of Nassau County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi's drive for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.
Griffin, who is expected to be on hand for a local Suozzi campaign appearance Wednesday, was considered a party maverick during his political career of more than 40 years.
Monday, he said he is supporting Suozzi's underdog campaign against Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer and hopes to be actively involved.
"I hope to get him a headquarters out here in South Buffalo, get it staffed and get this thing moving," Griffin said. "Here's a guy who's only 43 with a heckuva background. He changed things in Nassau County, and now we'll see if he can do the same for the state."
The former mayor said he has told the Suozzi organization he is willing to help recruit members of his old organization who might be able to help in Erie County. The offer is considered significant because Suozzi has scant support outside his Long Island home turf, and he will be strongly opposed by local party leaders who are solidly in the Spitzer camp.
"I've talked to all my old commissioners and directors," Griffin said, "and sent [the Suozzi campaign] the names of 128 workers."
Suozzi campaign sources indicate they are happy to receive the former mayor's support and will welcome his participation in the campaign. They also said Griffin and Suozzi had a long phone conversation Monday.
The candidate plans to visit the area Wednesday. He is scheduled to greet shoppers in the Broadway Market from noon to 1 p.m., then hold private meetings in Niagara Falls.