Ford, Jr. rules out 2010 run for governor - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Ford, Jr. rules out 2010 run for governor

Harold Ford, Junior and his wife, Emily. Harold Ford, Junior and his wife, Emily.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr. announced Monday he won't run for Tennessee governor in 2010.

The Memphis Democrat said in a release that the race to succeed term-limited Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen "is not the right time to re-enter politics."

(Scroll down to read the full release)

"I want to personally thank the many across our state and country who urged me to run for governor," Ford said in the statement. "There will be another race and time to ask for your support."

Ford's announcement follows overwhelming Republican wins in the presidential, U.S. Senate and state legislative races in Tennessee in November.

Ford, 38, was the Democratic nominee in the 2006 U.S. Senate race against Republican Bob Corker. Ford lost that race to the former Chattanooga mayor by fewer than 3 percentage points.

Ford raised $14 million in his effort to become the first black candidate from the South to be elected to the Senate since Reconstruction.

The campaign was marked by an infamous Republican TV ad featuring a young white woman who looked seductively into the camera and said, "Harold, call me." Critics said the ad was an attempt to play on deep-seated racial fears about black men and white women.

Ford served in the U.S. House for a decade before running for the Senate.

Democrats who have so far announced they will seek the gubernatorial nomination include state Sen. Roy Herron of Dresden, former state House Majority Leader Kim McMillan of Clarksville and Nashville businessman Ward Cammack.

Despite declining to join the gubernatorial fray, Ford couldn't resist taking a swipe at Republicans seeking the office.

"Our Republican friends running for governor will run predictably narrow campaigns that are out of sync with the time we live in and the challenges we face," Ford said.

Republicans running for governor include Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp and Memphis prosecutor Bill Gibbons. State Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville has formed an exploratory committee.

Ford said he will continue on as chairman of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, as a cable news commentator and as an instructor at Vanderbilt University.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


STATEMENT OF HAROLD FORD, JR. ON THE 2010 TENNESSEE GOVERNOR'S RACE:

(NASHVILLE) "After long thought, consultation and prayer with my wife, Emily, I've decided now is not the right time to re-enter elected politics.  Therefore, I won't be a candidate for Governor this year.

I want to personally thank the many across our state and country who urged me to run for Governor. There will be another race and time to ask for your support.

There is no way to adequately express my deep gratitude to those who share my passion for public service and, more importantly my strong desire to help our citizens through this trying economic time.

I also want to encourage my supporters to align with one of the other Democrats running. I urge our Democratic candidates running for Governor to organize your campaign around how to make Tennessee the most attractive 21st century economy of any state in the nation.  Tennessee can lead the nation in job creation over the next decade if we find ways to get investors, innovators and entrepreneurs to deploy capital, create new businesses and industries and make our state a model for ensuring middle class prosperity. We should set our sights high.  For example, there is no reason that Tennessee can't become the capitol of producing electric batteries that will fuel the hybrid cars that will dominate our streets and highways over the coming years.

Our state deserves nothing less than a Governor who can build on the prudent leadership of Governor Bredesen.  Our Republican friends running for Governor will run predictably narrow campaigns that are out of sync with the time we live in and the challenges we face.  They will ignore the economic hardship and uncertainty confronting an overwhelming number of Tennessee businesses and families in favor of focusing on issues like attacking President Obama and other national Democrats.  These narrow and stale campaigns will do nothing to alleviate the economic distress felt by too many Tennesseans.  We need -- and deserve -- so much more.

My passion for using public policy to overcome the challenges our state faces, and my love for Tennessee and our country remain high.  I will continue to stay involved to advocate for ideas that will help Tennesseans secure a bright economic future. I will continue teaching at Vanderbilt University, speaking and writing on major issues and serving as Chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council.

Powered by Frankly