Last week we reported that anti-gay, anti-choice former Tennessee congressman Harold E. Ford Jr—who voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, for the Federal Marriage Amendment and did not support extending hate crime protections to LGBTs—is considering a primary challenge to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Ford's candidacy is supported by NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Guess what? Harold Ford now supports marriage equality. The NY Post:
"In what will likely be read as another sign of his interest in running against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in this year's Democratic primary, ex-Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford Jr. yesterday publicly said for the first time that he was in favor of same-sex marriage. 'He supports gay marriage, in the interest of fairness and equality,' Ford spokesman Davidson Goldin told The Post."
Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan van Capelle describes Ford's candidacy as "disturbing":
"Ford supports a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. In fact, he voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment both times it reached the House floor. He has also gone out of his way to condemn court rulings (New Jersey’s, for example) that called for equal treatment under the law for same-sex couples. During his last year in the House, Ford received a 25 (out of 100) rating on HRC’s Congressional Scorecard. Ford’s anti-LGBT positions run in marked contrast with Senator Gillibrand’s unyielding support for our community.... For our community—and any New Yorker who cares about equality for LGBT people—there is no contest here. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand deserves our full support if she is going to be challenged by someone who has a dismal voting record on our rights—someone like Harold Ford, Jr. of Tennessee."
Meanwhile: New York's junior senator prepares has raised a cool $7.1 million to face a potential primary challenge from Ford:
On Friday, Ms. Gillibrand’s advisers held a series of conference calls, scrambling to devise a strategy to deal with Mr. Ford. The consensus that emerged was that the former congressman is a blank slate, and Gillibrand supporters needed to move quickly to highlight parts of Mr. Ford’s record that might prove troublesome for him, like his position on abortion rights. "They are going into overdrive," said a person with direct knowledge of the deliberations who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks were supposed to remain private. The person added, "There is an intense focus on this threat."
Ford has said he will decide next month whether to enter the race. Gillibrand’s fund-raising performance, which she will officially report January 31, will likely be one of his considerations.