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Harold Ford I Wont Be Bullied

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Former Tennessee congressman Harold Ford Jr. said Friday that he won't be "bullied or intimidated" by "party bosses" as he considers challenging one of the U.S. Senate's most pro-gay members, New York's Kirsten Gillibrand, in the state's Democratic primary this fall, The New York Times reports.

Ford, who moved from Tennessee to New York three years ago for a job in banking, voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment during his time in Congress. Gillibrand, on the other hand, favors the repeal of both "don't ask, don't tell" and the Defense of Marriage Act.

Some Democratic Party leaders who support Gillibrand have tried to dissuade Ford from entering the race. The state's senior senator, Charles Schumer, met with Ford on Wednesday, and Senate majority leader Harry Reid called New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday to discourage the mayor from his reported support of a Ford candidacy.

But a spokesman for Ford issued a statement on Friday defending Ford's interest in the race: "It's good to have credible candidates explore this race. So what are they afraid of?" New York, the statement continued, needs a senator with the "independence to stand up and do what is right for our state, regardless of what the party bosses in Albany and Washington want."

A spokesman for Gillibrand said the senator's supporters "aren't bullying, they're informing New Yorkers."

Read the full Times story here.

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