Harold Ford’s Puzzling Run

I probably should have written about this back on Friday, but the idea of Harold Ford running for Senate from New York is really odd. Kirsten Gillibrand was a bit of a strange choice when she was first appointed, and having served in a conservative House district had put together a record that definitely left her vulnerable to a challenge from the left in a primary. But since being elevated to the Senate, she’s put together a solid progressive record. Consequently, any challenge against her would either have to be grounded in highlighting her past record to undermine faith in her sincerity/commitment or else would have to be a challenge from the right.

Ford spent much of his time in the House positioning himself for a Senate bid in the conservative state of Tennessee. While actually running, he tacked further to the right. And then when he lost, he took a position with the DLC. So even as the space to Gillibrand’s left has narrowed, he can’t possibly fill it. But how are you going to run to the right in a closed primary in a liberal state? The thinking, I guess, is that Ford will be able to count on overwhelming support from African-American voters, but that strikes me as pretty implausible. Black voters like black primary candidates, but Gillibrand is going to be able to call on a ton of high-profile black surrogates and Ford’s positions on the issues aren’t very black-friendly.