Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. to Run for Frist’s Seat

Rep. Ford will run for Frist’s seat (The Hill)

Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) is expected to announce next week that he will run for the Senate, seeking to replace Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) when he retires in 2006.


President Bush won Tennessee 57 to 43 percent, and Ford would face an uphill battle to win statewide. The fifth-term congressman, whose father held the same seat for 22 years, has recently seen his statewide prospects hindered by his family name. His uncle, state Sen. John Ford, is embroiled in a child payment scandal and recently testified in juvenile court that he keeps two homes and lives with two different women whose children he fathered. The scandal has received considerable attention in Tennessee and has dominated political conversation among Democrats speculating about Ford̢۪s plans.

Ford is a bright, charismatic fellow and would appear to have an easy path to the nomination. The Tennessee Republican bench is rather deep, though, so I have a hard time seeing him take the seat.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2006, Congress, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. SoloD says:

    This will certainly be an interesting race. Ford is nothing if not telegenic and likeable. But he is a Democrat, black, and has some family issues that he will have to deal with (his uncle’s not his own)and Tennessee is still Southern state.

    The Democrats have not had a good track records down South as of late, even when they have been able to field attractive candidiates.

  2. BigFire says:

    As Bill Hobbs says, Ford is giving up his family safe congressional seat to stab at something bigger. His downside is the lose of that family heirloom.

  3. Jack Tanner says:

    Ford attended UT on an affirmative action admission eventhough his father was a US Rep at the time. But I still actually like him.

  4. chris says:

    I think you all are a little quick to dismiss Ford. He has strong potential for some of the reasons that have been mentioned, but also note that he has staked out some strong positions in opposition to the D party line, particularly in the area of fiscal and business related policy. He is not entirely a knee jerk Dem, but has developed some level of independence. Still a hard race for him, but I would expect him to do very decently.

  5. Jim S. says:

    Ford has solid backing in West Tennessee but does not have much backing in Middle Tennessee. If Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn opts in, Ford will have a big disadvantage. Blackburn is one of the leaders opposing a state income tax, and is well liked by Republicans and Democrats.

  6. William says:

    I think the VOTERS will look at Congressman Ford’s record. Harold Ford Jr. is on the ballot NOT his father OR his Uncle. When his uncle and father run for election or reelection then that’s when they shall and will be judged. Harold will win he’s liked by many, because he thinks out of the box and is different. The media shall, look at him and his record as well.

  7. Steve says:

    Actually Ford attended U of Mich Law and U Penn. Not UT. Ford is remarkably likeable, however still leans too left of center for majority of TN. Dont buy into his “moderate” facaded. He’s still very much Democrat. He’ll give up his very safe House seat to run for the open senate seat, and will win the Dem primary, but he can not win state wide…oh, and he will win his house seat right back in 2008.