Harold Ford Considering Another Senate Bid… In New York
by Nathan Empsall, Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 01:53:50 AM EST
Wow, talk about a newsworthy day. Cherry, Dorgan, Ritter, Dodd, the agreement not to have a health care conference committee, and now this oddball story from the New York Times: “Harold Ford Jr., the former congressman from Tennessee, is weighing a bid to unseat Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand in this fall’s Democratic primary, according to three people who have spoken with him.“ Fundraiser Steve Rattner says he would support Ford, who moved to New York three years ago, and Indepublican Mayor Michael Bloomberg hinted that he’s open to it as well.
Charles Schumer has been, as the Times puts it, “aggressively elbowing out potential primary challengers to Ms. Gillibrand,” but I doubt that will stop Ford. Remember, this is the guy who challenged Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi for the position of Minority Leader. He doesn’t seem to pay much attention to threats from above. My guess is if he thinks he can raise the money, he’ll run.
Still, I think it’s bizarre and, as much frustration as many progressives may have with Gillibrand, I doubt Ford would beat her. For one, yes, New York may have elected “carpetbaggers” Hillary Clinton and Robert Kennedy, but neither of them had ever held office in another state before. This reminds me more of former New Hampshire Senator Bob Smith, who is again running for the Senate, but from… Florida, where he now sells real estate. Despite his past credentials, he can’t even get pollsters to take him seriously enough to include his name in their questionnaires. Ford wouldn’t be quite that much of a joke, but his blatant opportunism could make past carpet-baggers’ ambitions look downright down-home. He also has quite the lengthy verbal track record to defend as an MSNBC commentator – lots of potential oppo research there. Throw that in with his status as vice chairman of Merrill Lynch (I wonder if he got a bonus in '08 or '09?), and the man’s got far more than a simple carpetbag for new baggage. I look forward to seeing a Gillibrand-Ford poll, but for now I think the best three words to describe this potential development are “bizarre,” “quixotic,” and “silly.”