Meanwhile, a cousin of the congressman -- Joe Ford Jr. of California -- indicates he will run for his open 9th District seat.



Standing in front of the federal Bankruptcy Court in downtown Memphis, U.S. Senatorial candidate Rosalind Kurita took her Democratic primary opponent, 9th District congressman Harold Ford Jr., to task on Friday for his Yes vote on last yea's bankruptcy bill and challenged Ford to a series of debates on that and other issues.

"Memphis has the highest number of bankruptcy filings in the nation -- and Congressman Ford is out helping credit card companies.He needs to explain that vote," Kurita said. She then challenged Ford "to debate me here in Memphis about the bankruptcy bill and other issues that set us apart so the voters can hear firsthand the clear differences between us."

Referring to the widely ballyhooed joint appearance in Memphis this week of Ford and Illinois U.S. Senator Barack Obama, Kurita, a state senator from Clarksville, took note of the fact that Obama had used the line, "I believe we are our brother's keeper," in defining the mission of the Democratic Party. Kurita herself has featured the line on the stump in explaining her candidacy, usually adding, as she did in Memphis on Friday, "We're a nation of souls, not a multinational corporation focused on the bottom line."

Kurita said that, in contrast to her own emphasis on traditional Democratic principles, Ford seemed intent on sounding as Republican as possible

In another development Friday, a member of the Ford family whom most Memphians had never heard of - or even knew existed -- has become a candidate for the 9th District seat about to be vacated by his cousin.

Joseph Ford, Jr., who was born in Memphis and grew up here but now practices law in California, where he has spent the last several years, sent potential supporters an email announcing his probable candidacy. Ford, the son of current Shelby County Commissioner Joe Ford, visited the Election Commission downtown and inquired about the procedures for filing and was given the requisite information. He returned just before closing time Friday afternoon and completed his filing.

Before becoming a lawyer in California, Ford attended academic institutions in Florida and Georgia and received his Juris Doctor degree in law - "cum laude,' according to a brief resume he included in his statement of intent - at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.

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