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

Save 75% on a Digital Subscription Today

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 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.


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