Republicans focus on primary, while Ford looks ahead to November

NASHVILLE, Tenn (AP) - A tough three-way Senate primary among Republicans Ed Bryant, Bob Corker and Van Hilleary may be helping the likely Democratic nominee, Harold Ford Junior.

Winning the general election will be difficult for any Democrat in a state that has trended Republican in recent years.

But with no serious primary opposition, Ford can focus on November as the Republicans focus on one another.

Ford has already spent a significant amount of time in upper East Tennessee, where most voters will be casting ballots in the August Third Republican primary because of an interesting congressional race.

The Republican nominee in the race to replace Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist may also win the nomination without getting a majority.

Political scientists say that may leave the Republicans with a candidate who can't unite the party heading into the November Seventh general election -- something Ford may have a chance of taking advantage of.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)