March 1st, 2010
09:00 PM ET
12 years ago

Harold Ford to pass on New York Senate bid

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Former congressman Ford explained his decision to pass on a Senate bid in an op-ed published online Monday."]
(CNN) - Former Democratic congressman Harold Ford, Jr. has decided to pass on a bid to unseat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York.

Gillibrand was appointed last year by New York Gov. David Paterson to replace Hillary Clinton, who stepped down to become secretary of state. The Democratic establishment has lined up behind Gillibrand, effectively clearing the field of any primary challengers who might have been thinking about taking on the freshman senator.

But Ford recently emerged as a possible challenger to Gillibrand, who previously represented a congressional district in upstate New York.

The Tennessee Democrat, who moved to New York City in 2006 after losing a Senate race against Bob Corker, explained his decision not to mount a primary challenge to Gillibrand in an op-ed published on the New York Times Web site Monday.

"I've examined this race in every possible way, and I keep returning to the same fundamental conclusion: If I run, the likely result would be a brutal and highly negative Democratic primary - a primary where the winner emerges weakened and the Republican strengthened.

"I refuse to do anything that would help Republicans win a Senate seat in New York, and give the Senate majority to the Republicans."

A Ford confidante was more blunt. "He wasn't going to be responsible for a Massachusetts-style surprise in New York," the source said, referring to Democrats' recent upset loss of the Senate seat held for more than four decades by the late Edward Kennedy.

The Gillibrand campaign was quick to respond to Ford's announcement.

"No matter who her opponent is this fall," Gillibrand spokesman Glen Caplin said in a statement, "she will wage a vigorous campaign on her strong record and her vision for New York."

Filed under: Harold Ford Jr. • Kirsten Gillibrand • New York • Popular Posts
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. MatthewDetroit

    LOOKS like CHAVEZ/OBAMA got to another one.

    Ford Jr... Claimed he was not going to let the White House get to him.

    Low and Behold.... a month later they have pushed him out of the race.

    It is one thing to support one candidate over another....
    It is ANOTHER to CONTROL the election and ALLOW only certain candidates into the race....

    This is how a Socialist Dictatorship Begins and is run...

    Just ask CHAVEZ, Barack is going right out of the same playbook.

    March 1, 2010 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  2. Wmscot

    Keep up the presence Ford. You will do well in New York !

    March 1, 2010 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  3. Good riddance

    Harold Ford was in NY for 3 years. He was not heard from until HE decided we needed him to run for Senate. Before you decide to run for something in NY again make suire you have a history of supporting a cause and doing some actual work that helps your potential constituents Mr. Ford.

    March 1, 2010 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  4. T'SAH from Virginia

    I think it was the RIGHT move for Harold because he was only going to upset the race. However, I believe his time would come because he is an intelligent man and could go far in his endeavors!!

    March 1, 2010 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  5. barry

    I like Harold Ford...but he is out of place in NY politics...Ford should consider carpetbagging Flordia or can't take a boy from Tennessee who has conservative voting records and think he can run with the liberals in New York....

    March 1, 2010 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  6. A.B.

    I think that carpetbagger Ford realized that he had little support in upstate New York and decided not to challange Gillibrand. Also, the Whitehouse is backing Gillibrand for re-election and not Ford. Ford made a wise decision. The odds of winning Gillibrand's senate seat in New York are not in his favor and he knows it.

    March 1, 2010 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  7. Kam

    It was best for Ford to step down as he knew it was hard and impossible to beat Gillibrand. And I am very happy to support Kirsten Gillibrand and wish her the best in success, as she serves us New Yorker's!

    March 1, 2010 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  8. todd

    why fight a losing battle all the dems are toast!

    March 1, 2010 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  9. Funny man

    For a minute, i thought this was Sammy Sosa..........

    March 2, 2010 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  10. Ndubueze Chuku

    Good decision Harold. Good decision.

    March 2, 2010 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  11. Biased

    New York Times, The WH and NY Senators told Patterson not to run and got rid of him, and now have told Ford not to run, and now he is gone. I would suggest to New York that they don't bother wasting money on an election and just appoint whoever the WH says to pick. That would help with their budget problems.

    March 2, 2010 01:58 am at 1:58 am |