HAROLD JR. SAYS HE'D HAND OFF TO CLEMENT

HAROLD JR. SAYS HE'D HAND OFF TO CLEMENT

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It gets curiouser and curiouser. A day after dissociating himself from any plan to pass off his congressional seat to a covetous Uncle John, and a day before setting off on a Listening Tour of East Tennessee, U.S. Rep. Harold Ford of Memphis says he'd surrender first dibs on a Senate race to his Nashville colleague Bob Clement. Quote: "If he runs, I will support him."

--J.B.

The following is the press release Wednesday from the Washington officer of Rep. Ford:

FORD STATEMENT

WASHINGTON - Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. (D-TN) today released the following statement:

"As Tennessee Democrats search for the best candidate for the U.S. Senate, many believe -- including me -- that Bob Clement would make a terrific candidate and Senator. His commitment to service and name recognition, combined with his record in office, would make him a great candidate. If he runs, he will enjoy my support.

"Although any Democratic candidate would start as an underdog, I firmly believe the election will be decided on the issues that are important to Tennesseans and their families. On Friday, I will visit East Tennessee to meet with parents, nurses, truckers, small business people, gun-owners and farmers to see if there is ground swell for something different in politics.

"The feedback I'm getting is that voters resent having politicians imposed on them. Tennesseans want to choose, and deserve to choose, their candidates for public office. This trip across East Tennessee presents another opportunity to hear from the people and talk with them about the challenges we face in Tennessee and Washington. I can't wait to get there."

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