Tennessee’s Ford Dynasty Transforms Into An Edsel

With Bill Frist retiring from the Senate after this year, the open seat allows Democrats an opportunity to close the gap on the GOP. The Tennessee Democrats have turned to Rep. Harold Ford Jr, who has held TN-09 for five terms following the eleven his father served in the same seat. The Democrats had to believe that Ford was the right man at the right time — popular, strong political connections, charismatic, and an unabashed moderate.
According to the latest data at Rasmussen, which has not been released as an article, the Democrats appear to have made a mistake. Ford not only has not captured the imagination of the Volunteer State, right now polls show him losing to all three Republicans vying for the nomination in head-to-head races. Ford badly trails the GOP favorite, Bob Corker, by 12 points. He trails the other two candidates within the margin of error (Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary), but only gets 41% of the vote at best in any of the three. Coincidentally, that’s also his unfavorable rating in Tennessee, showing that recent family troubles with corruption and a lack of influence outside of Memphis have hurt his image.
The numbers look even worse for the 2008 presidential campaign. Despite holding a narrow edge on a generic race between the two parties, the Democratic frontrunners tank in head-to-head contests with Rudy Giuliani and John McCain. Hillary Clinton can’t do any better that 36% against either, and even in a big pro-gun state Rudy manages to get just under a majority. Native son Al Gore doesn’t do a lot better than he did in 2000, losing to both McCain and Giuliani as well.
Democrats want to use Tennessee as a door opener for the South. They aren’t volunteering for the task in Tennessee.