Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz on Friday endorsed state Senate hopeful Betty Jean Grant over incumbent Democrat Tim Kennedy in next month’s primary.

“I am very grateful to Mark Poloncarz for his support in this race,” Grant said in a statement. “There is much that we can do together to make Western New York a better place to live and work. When elected, I pledge to work closely with Mark Poloncarz to create jobs, boost our economy and encourage small business growth. Mark and I both believe in the Democratic values of hard work, public service and that government can make a difference in people’s lives.”

Grant, the former chairwoman of the Erie County Legislature (she’s still a lawmaker, but the GOP now controls the chamber), unsuccessfully challenged Kennedy in a Democratic primary two years ago, losing the contest narrowly.

Kennedy and Grant were both colleagues on the county legislature, but did not get along all that well. Grant had accused Kennedy at the time of working too well with the then-Republican County Executive, Chris Collins, now a congressional representative after defeating Rep. Kathy Hochul.

Kennedy’s trouble in the district may also come in part after the 2012 round of redistricting drew in more black voters (Grant herself is African-American).

“Betty Jean Grant has been my partner in County government for nearly a decade,” Poloncarz said in a statement. “During that time, we’ve successfully restored funding to our library system and important programs like Operation Primetime and rodent control. Additionally, we’ve invested millions of dollars in our aging infrastructure and returned steel manufacturing to the former Bethlehem Steel Site. She understands that Erie County needs to grow jobs through smart economic development that includes IDA reform and that respects the needs of workers and the environment. Betty Jean is focused on serving the residents of the 63rd District and putting their needs first, and I am glad to support her.”

Update: The Kennedy campaign responds.

“This endorsement comes as no surprise, and it’s largely irrelevant. It’s the type of petty politics that people in our community simply don’t care about. What Western New Yorkers do care about is the candidates’ work for our community, and here, the facts are clear: my opponent, as chairperson of the County Legislature, presided over one of its most unproductive periods, passing just two laws in two years. Meanwhile, I’ve successfully passed major new laws like Jay-J’s Law, Jackie’s Law and CPS reforms, while fighting aggressively for new investment in our community to create jobs, fix roads and bridges and strengthen our schools. This, all while a member of the Senate Democratic Minority. These are real results achieved for our community by working hard and working aggressively with partners in state government. I’m sure voters will see through this political endorsement as an order taken from the party bosses to support their chosen candidate. I’ve been a strong, independent and progressive voice for Western New York, and I’m confident our community will support me on September 9, recognizing that I’m someone they can rely on to fight for Buffalo and Western New York in the State Capitol.”