October 25, 2006

THE FUTURES MARKETS ARE moving rapidly in Corker’s favor on the Tennessee Senate race. Ford’s had a less-than-ideal week, but it hasn’t been that bad. Is this because of the New Jersey gay marriage decision?

UPDATE: Related thoughts here. And there’s no similar movement in the Virginia race, which you’d expect if the NJ ruling were involved.

ANOTHER UPDATE: No similar movement in the New Jersey Senate futures, either. But Hotlineblog reports that the RNC is pumping $5 million dollars into the New Jersey race in response to this decision.

MORE: Hmm. Could this fight with Steve Cohen be the problem for Ford?

It began when state senator Cohen, on a fund-raising trip to Nashville, checked in with members of the Legislative Plaza press corps and delivered himself of some typically outspoken observations about what he — honestly or conveniently or both — saw as the drag on Ford’s senatorial campaign. Cohen saw Representative Ford’s “tremendous attributes” being overshadowed by the candidacy of brother Jake as well as by a speech given by Harold Ford Sr. in which the former congressman not only conflated a Harold Jr. rally with support for second son Jake but attacked Cohen in language that disturbed many who heard or read about it with its religious overtones.

“We’re from a Christian city here,” Ford Sr. had said at one point. “[Jake] doesn’t believe in legalizing marijuana. This man that’s running against Jake wants some sex shops running in downtown Memphis on a Sunday! That’s our religious holiday.”

After remarking on Representative Ford’s “tremendous attributes,” Cohen told his audience of Nashville media, “For him to come this far and to have the effort to overreach, I guess, and to have his younger brother run in the 9th District, I think has hurt his campaign.”

Further, in a reference to Ford Sr.’s out-of-town residences: “The Ford machine used to have a lot of foot soldiers. … The top brass has moved away from the foot soldiers. It’s hard to be in touch with your foot soldiers when you’re on Fisher Island [Miami] or in the Hamptons.”

That prompted a press release in Representative Ford’s name, which said in part: “Now, it appears that state senator Steve Cohen and Mayor Bob Corker are singing from the same Ford family attack hymnal. I know that Bob Corker is attacking my family because he has come up short on ideas and answers in this campaign. I didn’t know that … Cohen was suffering from the same problem.”

The congressman’s statement also accused Cohen of support for gay marriage, amnesty for illegal immigrants, legalization of marijuana, and “a cut-and-run strategy in Iraq. . . .

“I really think that if Harold Ford Jr. had run with me on a ticket, it would have been a ‘dream team,’” Cohen mused last week in Nashville.

Maybe the futures markets think so, too?

MORE STILL: Michael Silence finds the Ford/Corker race “surreal.”

STILL MORE: As of Thursday morning, the markets have rebounded. Go figure.

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