Former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford Jr. will not run for Senate in New York state. The Merrill Lynch executive says he could defeat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand—but a "brutal and highly negative primary" would have done too much damage to the Democratic party. "I refuse to do anything that would help Republicans win a Senate seat in New York, and give the Senate majority to the Republicans," he said.

Using the same strategy to bail out of the race as Rep. Anthony Weiner in his short-lived Mayoral effort, Ford penned a New York Times op-ed titled "Why I'm Not Running for the Senate." Ford's op-ed—much his unofficial eight-week campaign—is largely dedicated to blasting his rivals as beholden to Democratic interests and depicting himself as independent of party influence. Though Ford says victory was "fully achievable," his campaign suffered gaffe after gaffe, including revelations he has only visited Staten Island by helicopter, never paid taxes in New York, claimed he was pro-life, voted twice to ban gay marriage, and earned $2 million per year from his Wall Street job before bonuses.

According to the Daily News, some Democratic insiders think Ford wasn't really waging a campaign as much as he was attempting to draw attention to his upcoming book and gain recognition as a consultant. "This was about raising his profile and he probably succeeded," said an Obama campaign veteran. "Nobody knew who he was in New York and now they do."