Ex-Rep. Ford Jr. weighs Senate race

January 8, 2010 4:19:51 PM PST
Harold Ford Jr. was once one the Democratic party's favorite sons in Tennessee. Now, he lives in New York and he's considering a primary race against Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

Liberal democrats are up in arms. NARAL Pro-Choice even launched a new ad.

"Even Republican candidates in New York for statewide office see that need to be pro choice and need to uphold that. Harold Ford is to the right of most Republicans," NARAL Pro Choice spokesperson Kelli Conlin said.

A spokesman for Ford said he "is not going to be bullied or intimidated. It's good for New Yorkers to have a dialogue. What are they so afraid of?"

The flap over Ford underscores what many call Gillibrand's vulnerability. Most New York voters know almost nothing about her.

"Well, she's vulnerable because she was frankly appointed by Albany and Washington and she hasn't earned it yet. And we barely see her now unless she's in front with Chuck Schumer," Republican strategist Susan Del Percio said.

In the last few weeks on the renewed threat of terrorism, we haven't seen Gillibrand that much, but we've seen a lot from Senator Schumer and New Jersey's two senators.

Her supporters today, though, said Gillibrand was out front on the healthcare bill, fighting for abortion coverage.

They say she's pushing to change the military's don't ask, don't tell policy and she's "become" a big gun-control advocate.

"She's an incumbent. She's been passing laws. She's been making friends. She has a number of people in her corner including the President of the United States, and that's not nothing," said Daily News columnist Errol Louis.

Gillibrand staff said the senator is simply with her family today, but they did release a statement in which Gillibrand said each candidate has to decide if they want to run. She went on to promise a vigorous campaign based on her record.