Harold Eugene Ford, Jr. is a former U.S. representative from Tennessee’s 9th congressional district and a current political analyst and commentator. He served in Congress from 1997 to 2007, following in the footsteps of his father, Harold Ford Sr., who held the same seat for 22 years. During his tenure, Ford Jr. was a moderate Democrat who supported fiscal responsibility, national security, and social justice. He was a member of the Blue Dog Coalition and the New Democrat Coalition, two groups of centrist Democrats who often worked across the aisle with Republicans. He also served as the chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, a think tank that advocated for pragmatic and innovative solutions to the nation’s challenges.
Ford Jr. ran for the U.S. Senate in 2006, hoping to become the first African American senator from the South since Reconstruction. He faced a tough race against Republican Bob Corker, a former mayor of Chattanooga and a wealthy businessman. The campaign was marked by negative ads and personal attacks from both sides, as well as racial innuendos and controversies. Ford Jr. lost by a narrow margin of less than 3 percentage points, in a state that had not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1990.
After leaving Congress, Ford Jr. joined Merrill Lynch as a vice chairman and senior policy adviser. He also became a frequent contributor to MSNBC and NBC News, offering his insights and opinions on various political issues and events. He has written two books: More Davids Than Goliaths: A Political Education (2010) and The Right Answer: How We Can Unify Our Divided Nation (2018). In both books, he calls for more bipartisanship, civility, and common sense in American politics.
Ford Jr. is married to Emily Threlkeld, a fashion designer and stylist. They have two children, Georgia and Harold III. They live in New York City, where Ford Jr. teaches at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.