The Times reports that it was "intense pressure" from Democratic officials that helped form his decision.

And, the paper says, Ford told friends that "while he is convinced he could prevail against Ms. Gillibrand, he feared the winner of the primary would have little money and remain highly vulnerable to a well-financed Republican challenger at a time when the Democratic party controls the Senate by a slim majority."

White House officials had signaled they did not want Ford to run. Administration officials had helped clear the primary field for Gillibrand early in the cycle and, earlier this year, when asked if officials would help remove Ford from the race, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said: "Stay tuned."