POLITICS: Ford Gets a Boost




Needing a magic number of 105 to be elected minority leader of House Democrats, U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr. now has 61 votes sewn up, "with a lot of momentum" to get the rest, says Memphis Democrat David Cocke, one of several Ford allies in Washington to lend the 9th District congressman a hand.

Ford's underdog struggle may have gained a boost when another Democratic member, Ohio's Marcy Kaptur, entered the competition Wednesday -- potentially splitting the vote of favorite Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Cocke said Ford, who announced his bid for the key leadership post last Friday, has "momentum" and "all the dynamics in his favor." A key convert, according to Cocke, has been Michigan Democrat John Conyers, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus who was originally committed to Pelosi.

"He [Ford} has the conservatives of the 'Blue Dog' caucus solidly with him, and he wowed his fellow members of the Black Caucus in a speech to them last night. He's moving them rapidly toward his cause," Cocke said.

One of those spearheading the Memphis congressman's effort in Washington has been his father, former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Sr., who, as Cocke noted, "knows all the players."

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