Harold Ford’s Visit
by Geoff Kelly - posted 9:45 am, January 25, 2010
On Friday evening, that old water-carrier Joe Illuzzi reported that former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford, who’s looking to run a primary challenge to Kirsten Gillibrand for the US Senate this year, would pay a visit to Western New York on Sunday.
You can tell where he learned of the visit from the spin he imparts:
PoliticsNY.Net has learned exclusively that NYS Senate hopeful Harold Ford will be in Buffalo Sunday to discuss state, esp. upstate, issues with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown…
The meeting is preliminary no one expects Mayor Brown to make an endorsement. However, the 2010 election cycle seems to be breaking out early & our Mayor will be a key player statewide.
You’d think from this that Ford flew from NYC specifically to see Brown. In fact, I’m told that a meeting with Brown—they had lunch at the Buffalo Chop House—was not on the radar when Ford’s itinerary was first established. Initially Ford was to attend church on the city’s East Side (he wound up at the Greater Refuge Temple), then stop in for lunch at a West Side restaurant (possibly Betty’s), then meet with Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Len Lenihan, then catch a little bit of the Jets game at the Buffalo Brew Pub on his way back to the airport.
But Brown’s people learned of the visit and insisted that they be shoehorned into the schedule. Goodbye, Betty’s. Goodbye, Jets game.
Illuzzi dutifully reported what the mayor’s people would have you believe: That Ford’s trip to Buffalo was all about courting the mayor. And why should he recast Ford’s visit as an homage to Brown? Because the mayor has spent at least $17,000 on advertisements on Illuzzi’s site in the past four years.
This is all about Illuzzi, of course, and not about the mayor. Even the New York Times thinks Brown will play a role in this fall’s statewide elections.