Thursday, March 23, 2006

It's Official: Harold Ford Jr. Running For The U.S. Senate

It's official folks: Harold Ford Jr. is running for the U.S. Senate.

On Wednesday, the Congressman filed his papers in Nashville to officially become a candidate for the United States States.

The Commercial Appeal has the scoop:

After nearly two years of campaigning, U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr. of Memphis made his candidacy for the U.S. Senate official today, filing qualifying papers at the Tennessee secretary of state's office at 11:56 a.m.

The filing ends months of lingering speculation in some quarters on whether the five-term congressman would really leave his safe Democratic 9th District seat to make the uphill run for the other side of the U.S. Capitol.

Still, Ford is only the second of the five major Senate candidates of both parties to file the documents to enter the race, with the qualifying deadline two weeks from today. Only Republican Bob Corker, the former mayor of Chattanooga, beat Ford to the secretary of state's office, although Democrat Rosalind Kurita and Republicans Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary are expected soon.

Ford turned the campaign milestone into a news conference and, outside the building, a small rally with supporters. He said he wants to move over to the Senate to help solve the nation's problems.

"The reality is I don't know many people who can make the case that they like the fact that we're spending more than we have, that we don't have a coherent plan on the ground in Iraq, that we still have the same group of people who made the decisions on this war in charge in Washington," he said.

"Frankly if these guys lived in the real world, they'd all be fired by now: the predictions that have been made about the war, the predictions about cutting the deficit, the predictions about providing health care to people, the predictions about sending kids to college, the predictions about reducing poverty levels, the predictions about reducing our dependence on oil -- on every measure, we've not lived up to it.

"I don't want to blame anybody; I just want to go up there and try to fix it. This isn't an attack on the president. He's given it his best and it's not worked. The point I'm making, and the central premise of this campaign, is that we need a new generation of leaders in Washington who are not persuaded or dissuaded by partisanship, who are not overly influenced by party, who are more interested in problem solving."

Ford brushed aside criticism earlier today by the National Republican Senatorial Committee of upcoming $1,000 per person fund-raising events for him in New York hosted by former Sex & the City star Sarah Jessica Parker.

"Is that a crime? You guys are funny to me: Ya'll criticize me for raising it, for spending it. Maybe when I win, you'll find something to criticize me for then. Races are expensive. If you come up with a way to run ads for free and not pay staff and convince the landlords at my headquarters not to pay them for rent, call me."

Congratulations Congressman!

It is time Tennessee had a U.S. Senator that cared about important issues like port security, fiscal responsibility, ethics reform, and helping people get ahead in life.

Clearly you fit that bill!

Related: Ford Hopes for House-to-Senate Move

78 Days

Days of Congressional Inaction on Ethics

Above is the number of days that have passed since Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to bribing Congressman.

It is also the number of days in which Congress has failed to pass an ethics reform bill that would limit private travel, ski and golf junkets, and would call for a full disclosure of expenses by lobbyists on members of Congress.

It is time for Congress to step up and pass an ethics reform bill that would do all of the above. In addition, it is time to end the pork barrel spending system as we know it and establish an independent ethics commission that would review ethics complaints against members of Congress.

I am proud Congressman Harold Ford Jr. is fighting for that reform!

Read Congressman Ford's call for reform of the House rules here!