Ford Jr. says he could have beaten NY Sen. Gillibrand

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NEW YORK (AP)—Former Congressman Harold Ford Jr. returned to his job as an MSNBC pundit on Tuesday, one day after announcing he wouldn’t run for U.S. Senate in New York, and said he would have won the primary but worried that the intraparty battle would have emboldened Republicans.

HaroldFord
HAROLD FORD JR.

Ford, who represented a Tennessee district in the U.S. House, had been publicly exploring a possible Democratic primary challenge in New York, but announced Monday night in a New York Times op-ed that he wouldn’t run. He said Tuesday on MSNBC that he hopes “another opportunity presents itself.”

Ford said he doesn’t want to divide the party and risk strengthening the Republicans’ chance to take Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s seat. She was appointed last year when Hillary Rodham Clinton became U.S. secretary of state.

Ford represented a Tennessee district in Congress for 10 years. He moved to New York City after losing a 2006 U.S. Senate race.

“It would have been a close, tough, tough fight,” he said Tuesday. “The last thing I wanted to see was for this seat to go Republican.”

Many in the Democratic establishment are backing Gillibrand, including the White House and New York Sen. Charles Schumer, and sought to discourage Ford from running. In Ford’s op-ed, he complained of the party’s “campaign to bully me out of the race,” claiming it showed Democrats are nervous.

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