Kentucky's Sen. Ford To Retire
Senate Democratic whip cites fund-raising demands, desire to spend time with family
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AllPolitics, March 10) -- The Senate's minority whip, Democrat Wendell Ford of Kentucky, announced today that he would not seek a fifth six-year term when his current one expires in 1998.
"My heart says that my love affair with the people of Kentucky is not over; my head says it's been a long ride and a good ride, but now it's time to pass the reins on to the younger generation," Ford said. "Today, I will lead with my head, not my heart."
Ford is 72 now, and would have been 80 at the end of another term. He is the second Democratic senator to announce his retirement; Ohio's John Glenn said Feb. 20 he would not run again.
Ford cited the constant demands of fund-raising as contributing to his decision. "I do not relish, in fact I detest, the idea of having to raise $5 million for a job that pays $133,000 a year," he said.
But Ford says he will raise money for whoever succeeds him as the Democratic nominee. He plans to stay neutral during the primary, which could have a crowded field.
Democratic Rep. Scotty Baesler, who represents Lexington and Frankfort, has already jumped into the race with both feet. "I'm running. It's just that simple," he said after Ford's announcement.
Other possible Democratic candidates are Attorney General Ben Chandler, Lt. Gov. Steve Henry and former Lt. Gov. Steve Beshear.
Ford said he wants time to sort through his papers, look into setting up a museum in Owensboro, his hometown, and fish with his grandchildren. "I'll finally have the time to dote on them and spoil them the way a granddad is supposed to," Ford said.
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