Former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford Jr. says he won't challenge New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand for her Senate seat.
In a New York Times op-ed column published Monday night, Ford says he does not want to divide and weaken the Democratic party at a time when voters are eager for change.
"I’ve examined this race in every possible way, and I keep returning to the same fundamental conclusion: If I run, the likely result would be a brutal and highly negative Democratic primary — a primary where the winner emerges weakened and the Republican strengthened," Ford wrote.
Ford spent weeks on a "listening tour" of New York State, meeting with party leaders and various groups to gauge support for a possible run. Democratic part officials had reportedly urged Ford not to challenge Gillibrand, who was appointed to the Senate last year by Gov. David Paterson after Hillary Rodham Clinton became Secretary of State.