In what could set the stage for another rousing intra-party fight among Erie County Democrats, Betty Jean Grant, the minority leader of the Erie County Legislature, on Wednesday was endorsed by the party’s executive committee as its State Senate candidate in Buffalo’s 63rd District over incumbent State Sen. Tim Kennedy.
Jeremy J. Zellner, chairman of the county committee, confirmed the vote for Grant, who lost to Kennedy in a primary two years ago.
After the endorsement vote, Kennedy accused Zellner and the party’s executive committee of being “party bosses” who he contends are “attempting to stand in the way of the progress and momentum that we have created in Western New York and New York State.”
“This time,” Kennedy continued, “I am not just taking on the party bosses in Western New York, but also the Republican-lead coalition in the Senate that is supporting my opponent. I came to the Senate because I wanted to make positive changes for our community. So while the chairman plays petty politics, I’m busy in Albany delivering real results for the people of Western New York.
“From job creation and economic development brought by the Buffalo Billion, to stronger protections for children and victims of domestic violence, I remain committed to improving the quality of life for all Western New Yorkers,” he said.
A Grant supporter, who first announced she had received the committee backing, called it “clearly an upset for Tim Kennedy’s campaign and a victory for Grant backers. No one saw this one coming. Kennedy is the incumbent and is well financed, while Betty Jean Grant holds the title of voice of the people.”