Updated: 8:15 p.m.
Former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) has decided against a primary challenge to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), the New York Times reported Monday night.
National Democrats have gone out of their way to try to avoid a costly Democratic primary for Gillibrand — who was appointed to succeed now-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton — but in recent weeks Ford had made clear that he was seriously weighing getting into the race.
The Times, citing two people who were informed of the ex-Congressman’s plans, reported that Ford believes he could win the primary but that he feared the contest would have financially drained the eventual nominee and left that person vulnerable to defeat in November.
Republicans have yet to recruit a top-flight challenger for the race.
In a statement, Glen Caplin, a spokesman for Gillibrand, said: “Senator Gillibrand has shown that she takes a back seat to no one when it comes to fighting for New York and no matter who her opponent is this fall, she will wage a vigorous campaign on her strong record and her vision for New York.”