June 15, 2005


Ford faces family trouble amid Senate bid (MATT GOURAS, June 15, 2005, AP)

Just a day after Rep. Harold Ford Jr. announced he was running for the Senate, the FBI arrested his lawmaker uncle back home in Tennessee on corruption charges.

Ford has spent much of his career trying to distinguish himself from his powerful - and occasionally scandalous - Memphis political family. Now many wonder how the congressman, a rising star among the Democrats, will deal with this latest embarrassment. [...]

Overcoming the Ford family reputation is not the only challenge facing the younger Ford, who is 35. A black candidate has never won a major statewide office in Tennessee. And no Southern state has elected a black senator since Reconstruction.

The Democrats saw Ford's potential five years ago when then-presidential candidate and fellow Tennessean Al Gore asked him to deliver the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention. As always, the young, handsome, well-spoken Ford impressed.

He used to be Barack Obama, but he should have had sense enough to switch parties before running statewide.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 15, 2005 5:24 PM

Barak Urtel is no Harold Ford. The latter is a decent person who - agreed - should have changed parties before announcing.

Posted by: obc at June 15, 2005 5:58 PM

funny how the democrats seem to have a quota (of 1) for charismatic black representatives.

Posted by: cjm at June 15, 2005 6:26 PM

Ford's father and uncle are serious crooks from the cesspool that is Memphis. I have a great deal of trouble seeing how decent he is, rather than seeing him as a skilled salesperson and self-promoter.

Posted by: bart at June 15, 2005 8:40 PM

Ford is seriously damaged goods due to his family. Unless I seriously don't understand TN the scandals, along with the D next to his name, will keep Ford below 40%.

As for the GOP they seem to be generating serious african-american candidates at a decent clip now - no need for a tarnished one.

Posted by: AWW at June 15, 2005 9:21 PM

He could distance himself from his family by switching parties.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at June 15, 2005 10:22 PM

One of Jr's close allies/advisors was in the area under the radar last week talking to a few of our less than stalwart Republican bigwigs in East TN. Basically, Harold still thanks that, if Bob Corker, the nominally GOP Mayor of Chattanooga doesn't get the nominqtion, he can pull enough "Bredecrats" (the nominal GOP crowd that elected Phil Bredesen Governor) to be viable, or, that if Corker does win the GOP primary, the right wingers will stay home.

I think that is kind of like trying to draw to an inside straight. I know GOP voters in East Tennessee as well as anyone, and they aren't going to vote for a Democrat for a Senate seat anywhere nearly as readily as many of them deserted to Bredesen in '02. And particularly not to someone associated with the Memphis machine, however fairly or unfairly.

Posted by: Dan at June 15, 2005 10:30 PM

"cesspool that is Memphis"

Hey, that's my hometown you're disrespecting. Well er..not that you're wrong or anything, but there are somethings that can just be left unsaid. By the way you're from New Jersey, right?

Posted by: h-man at June 16, 2005 7:11 AM

Coming from Memphis and running statewide in Tennessee is like coming from Jersey City and running statewide in NJ. I am a Brooklyn boy, temporarily(30 years) bivouaced in NJ, but it looks like that will be changing by the spring and I will be moving to the swamps of Jacksonville, Florida.

Posted by: bart at June 16, 2005 12:24 PM