Former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. has decided against challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N. Y.

Former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. has decided against challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., forestalling a primary fight that Democrats in Washington and New York had actively discouraged.

“I refuse to do anything that would help Republicans win a Senate seat in New York,” Ford wrote in an opinion article in Tuesday’s New York Times.

Ford had moved to New York after a failed Senate run in 2006 in his home state of Tennessee, and he had flirted for more than a month with a run against Gillibrand, who was appointed last year to replace Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Lincoln faces primary challenge

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter announced Monday that he will challenge Sen. Blanche Lincoln in the state’s May Democratic primary, a decision touted by liberal Democrats as a watershed moment in attempts to demonstrate their displeasure with the way the party has conducted itself over the past year.

Lincoln’s opposition to including the so-called “public option” in a Senate bill inflamed liberals, and her vote for final passage of that legislation stoked anger among Republicans.

Recent polls have shown Lincoln trailing a little-known Republican field led by Rep. John Boozman and her being potentially vulnerable to a Democratic challenge. Halter, a one-term lieutenant governor, is a former Clinton administration official.

The liberal group MoveOn.org asked its members to support his primary challenge. The AFL-CIO is expected to approve this week its political panel’s support vote for Halter. Lincoln has opposed key union-organizing legislation and Obama’s nominee for the National Labor Relations Board.

Also

Jerry Brown redux: California Attorney General Jerry Brown is expected to formally announce Tuesday morning that he is running for governor, a job he held from 1975 until 1983. Brown, 71, faces no serious primary-election opposition.

Eyes on Texas vote: Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and GOP activist Debra Medina face off in Tuesday’s Texas GOP primary for governor. The race could result in a runoff if no one wins a majority.

Seattle Times news services