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Gillibrand “Underhanded” For Seeking Endorsements For Her Campaign, Ford Says

Harold Ford is upset that Kirsten Gillibrand, the incumbent and announced candidate for the US Senate seat in New York, is doing what announced candidates do, by seeking endorsements. This is very underhanded, Ford says, and clearly Gillibrand should cease all campaign activities until her opponent decides whether or not to run. That would be the sporting thing to do.

Former Representative Harold E. Ford Jr. accused Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand on Sunday of using “underhanded tactics” to try to keep him off the ballot, and he urged New York City Democratic Party officials to delay an endorsement amid intense wrangling over how to handle his potential candidacy.

Mr. Ford, who has given himself the next 30 days to decide whether to challenge Ms. Gillibrand in the Democratic primary, is seeking to counter what he and his allies say is an organized campaign by Ms. Gillibrand to dissuade him from running.

Ms. Gillibrand has collected endorsements from 56 of the state’s 62 Democratic county leaders and is encouraging those who remain undecided to quickly make up their minds. Under party rules, a candidate must receive at least 25 percent of the county endorsements — weighted by population — to run in the primary in September. The endorsement of the county chairmen in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx, who remain undecided, would help Mr. Ford come close to 25 percent.

This is the kind of whining you’d expect from someone who has been handed everything he’s accomplished for most of his 39 years. His father gave him his House seat, his boosters on the center-right of the party gave him the chair of the DLC, his corporate pals bailed him out when he lost the Senate race in Tennessee by giving him a Merrill Lynch sinecure, etc., etc. Is Ford really saying that it’s unfair for an announced candidate to collect endorsements while he decides if he’s running? Srsly?

There’s also the fact that this would not shut Ford off the primary ballot. He’d merely have to undertake a signature-gathering campaign, collecting a whopping total of 15,000 signatures out of the 5.7 million registered Democrats in the state. But this would be an arduous task, requiring Ford to “meet” people and “ask” for their vote. It’s all so craven.

Harold Ford should probably figure out if he’s a candidate, and come up with a better answer about whether or not he received a bonus from Bank of America, instead of whining about his opponent sneakily running a campaign for office without his permission.

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David Dayen

David Dayen