Former Tenn. Rep. Ford won’t run against N.Y. Sen. Gillibrand

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It took some prodding from other Democrats, but Harold Ford has finally made a decision: He’s not running. The former Tennessee congressman had been testing the waters for months, considering challenging the incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand for the New York Senate seat left vacant by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The New York Post, citing several sources, broke the story earlier tonight:

“I heard from Harold Ford and he has decided not to run,” said Assemblyman Vito Lopez, the Kings County Democratic chairman who had strongly indicated a willingness to back Ford.

“After giving it considerable thought and talking it over with his wife, he reached the conclusion that he would not be running, although he said he would like to remain active in the Democratic Party here,” Lopez continued.

Reluctant at first, the rising star of the Democratic party finally caved to the pressure of party leaders, according to the New York Times:

White House officials signaled they did not want him to run, and Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York met personally with Mr. Ford to argue against his candidacy.

At first, Mr. Ford seemed to be emboldened by the attempts to fight his entry into the campaign. He branded those who asked him to stay out as “bullying party bosses” and sought to portray himself as a political outsider taking on an out-of-touch establishment.

While Ford expressed confidence that he could defeat Gillibrand, he said the end result would be a “brutal and highly negative Democratic primary — a primary where the winner emerges weak-ened and the Republican strengthened.”

Full story: Ford not running against Sen. Gillibrand – NYPOST.com