January 12th, 2010
11:10 AM ET
4 years ago

Ford says he's considering NY Senate bid

Ford may run for Senate in New York.
Ford may run for Senate in New York.

(CNN) - Former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. of Tennessee says he may challenge fellow Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand for her Senate seat in New York.

"It's true: I am strongly considering running for the United States Senate," Ford writes in Tuesday's New York Post.

The five term congressman, who narrowly lost a 2006 bid for the Senate in Tennessee, now lives in New York and lately has hinted that he might make take on Gillibrand for their party's Senate nomination. Gillibrand, a former congresswoman from upstate New York, was named a year ago to replace Hillary Clinton, who stepped down from her Senate seat after being confirmed as secretary of state. Gillibrand is running to serve the final two years of Clinton's term.

Ford's move may anger the White House, which supports Gillibrand and has helped clear the field of any potential Democratic rivals.

"I think the White House is quite happy with the leadership and the representation of Senator Gillibrand in New York," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday when asked about a possible bid by Ford.  "We're supporting her reelection."

Asked about new attempts by the White House to clear the field again, Gibbs said "stay tuned."

Ford appeared to strike back, saying, "Some have already questioned whether I should be running. Others are falsifying my record in public life. New Yorkers deserve a free election."

Ford also appeared to push back against arguments that he's not really a New Yorker.

"I moved to New York more than three years ago, have been a New York resident for more than a year and am a registered voter in New York City. My wife and I both work in Manhattan, proudly call lower Manhattan home and plan to start and raise a family in New York," writes Ford.
It's worth noting that Clinton and Robert Kennedy, who served as a senator from New York in the 1960's, both moved to the state in their adult years before running for office.

Ford also attempted to shoot down the argument that he's too conservative for New York Democrats: "I am pro-choice - have always been since I entered politics almost 15 years ago. My cumulative grade with NARAL during 10 years in Congress was right at 80 percent. Any assertions to the contrary are false."

Surveys suggest Gillibrand could be vulnerable in a battle with a strong opponent. A poll released early last month by Quinnipiac University indicated that 4 in 10 New York voters approved job Gillibrand's doing as senator, with an equal amount unsure and 1 in 5 disapproving of her performance in office. And in a Siena poll released in November,  just under a third of the New York voters questioned thought she deserved to hold on to her seat, and 34 percent said they'd back another candidate.

But Republicans are without a big name candidate at this time. Former New York City Mayor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani has said no to a senate run, as has 9-term Rep. Peter King. Former New York State Governor George Pataki appears non-committal about making a bid.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. TOTUS

    New Yorkers apparently LOVE these carpet baggers...

    January 12, 2010 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  2. Silence Dogoode

    term limits....everyone call your state legislatures and request them....

    January 12, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  3. Jim

    I think Ford is doing this to set himself up for a future bid in NY. No way he beats Gillebrand, as they are pretty much the same on most issues.

    January 12, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  4. gt

    ford would be a great senator... he is the middle,,, not to far left and not to far right,,,, go for it ..

    January 12, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  5. Ron in California

    Go gettem Harold. Politics is ugly.

    January 12, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  6. kjetil1979

    I think he should run. Its always good with some competion. I would not support him because he is too conservative in social issues, and i belive that NY should have a more modern senator than Ford Jr.

    January 12, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  7. kjetil1979

    When you are against gay rights then you should be in the GOP or be active in politics in a state where the religious conservative are big in numbers.

    January 12, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  8. wbn

    I've always like Ford; he seems real. He risks a lot if he angers the Great Ruler, but if the people vote him in, he may just survive!

    January 12, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  9. tmart

    Being from Tennessee myself, I was very excited when Ford ran for Sentate. He is an awesome man and candidate, and I was very disappointed when he lost to Bob Corker. Ford would be a superior member of the Senate. I am sorry that we lose him in Tennessee, but Tennessee has become so red that Ford cannot win here. Ford had tremendous name recognition whereas Corker didn't, and yet the Republicans prevailed (although it was a close race). New Yorkers, you will be pleased with Ford's representation, and I encourage you to vote for him.

    January 12, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  10. Rick CT

    First Obama wants to tell New Yorkers who should run for Governor. Now, he's telling them who should run for Senate. Next, he'll suggest passing a law giving him the sole right to determine candidates.

    Change we can believe in.

    January 12, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  11. southerncousin

    Poor people of New York. The Democrats don't even want them to elect their own representatives in Congress. They keep electing "carpet baggers" who represent the narrow progressive principles of the liberals rather than the hard working people of New York. Very elitist of the democrats, very in keeping with their lack of character and morals.

    January 12, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  12. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    Be patient Harold, your time will come.

    January 12, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  13. lemmy

    good for you harold. Stick to Obomber.

    January 12, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  14. Fair is Fair

    "Ford's move may anger the White House, which supports Gillibrand and has helped clear the field of any potential Democratic rivals."

    Something is VERY wrong with this picture.

    First, they tell NY Gov. Patterson not to run. They "clear the field of potential Democratic rivals". Why is the White House sticking there noses in statewide elections?

    20 bucks says that Dodd was TOLD to "retire" – any takers?

    January 12, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  15. Sniffit

    Wow...what Gibbs said sure indicates that the WH is "angry" with Ford. I call shenanigans on your headline CNN.

    January 12, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  16. Sniffit

    Wow...what Gibbs said sure indicates that the WH is "angry" with Ford. I call shenanigans on your headline CNN. Edit: Excuse...not the healdline above, but the one on the front page designed specifically to generate clicks for your advertisers...that says he might "Anger the WH". I suppose I should thank you for the great example of me being right though haha.

    January 12, 2010 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  17. Mike

    This administration will lay waste to Ford(a democrat)to save the seat for another democrat. This administration will eat its own to promote their agenda. Pathetic.

    January 12, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Oooh, he's good looking! I know, that has nothing to do with his political abilities but then look how far dumb-as-a-doorbell Sarah Palin got just on looks alone!! tee hee!

    January 12, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  19. Democrats = party of hate!

    GOOD!!! Were sick of Gillibrand being an Obama and Schumer yes women! The two of them have been among the worst Senators in NYS history!

    It's time NYS had someone who thinks about the people of NYS first! Due to the actions of our last 3 Senators, Schumer, Gillibrand and Clinton, for every dollar we pay in Federal taxes we only recieve $.79 in federal funds!! NYS looses BILLIONS every year thanks to these Liberals!

    January 12, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  20. tess

    again the democrats double standard – whatever they want is ok but if they don't want it ,it is not ok.! hillary was NOT a new yorker but it was ok – now ford IS a new yorker but it is not ok. they had better learn that their low standards are what will be the end of their reign ( and it can't come soon enough). go ford – you probably have too much integrity for your party but good luck anyway.

    January 12, 2010 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  21. Willy Brown

    Wonder if Harry will comment on this?

    January 12, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  22. Ross, NY Democrat

    Please run, Mr. Ford, and help us dump Gillibrand, a lawyer for Big Tobacco who does whatever the National Rifle Association tells her to do, plus she's an immigrant-basher! She is unworthy, unfit, and unqualified to hold the seat of Robert Kennedy, Charles Goodell, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Hillary Clinton. She was appointed by our totally incompetent governor who's on his way out! The White House needs to stop being so arrogant and stop taking rank and file Democrats for granted. Schumer, too!

    January 12, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  23. Dean

    Funny, I thought the senator was supposed to represent the state that he is elected in and not the White House. I guess this must be one of the changes you people wanted last election.

    January 12, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  24. Texas Slim

    You may as well. Join the Obama take over of our Democratic Government.

    January 12, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  25. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but...

    Man, doesn't anybody who's actually from New York State run for office there? As much as I dig Hillary, she lived there for, what, 5 minutes before she ran? Freakin' carpetbaggers. Have a nice day!

    January 12, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
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