Former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. (D) is considering a primary challenge against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), according to the New York Times.

Ford has told friends familiar with the matter that he will make his decision within the next month and a half, the Times reported late Tuesday. The former congressman moved to New York three years ago. Among those encouraging Ford to run are a number of powerful New York Democratic donors.


"Maureen and I worked hard for Harold in his last race because we think the world of him,” Democratic fundraiser and former Obama auto czar Steven Rattner told the Times, referring to Ford’s run for the Senate in Tennessee in 2006. “He has extraordinary drive and intelligence and will excel at anything that he chooses to do."

The Times also suggests that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) could back a Ford bid because of his public disagreements with Gillibrand.

Gillibrand was appointed last year by New York Gov. David Paterson (D) to fill the seat of now-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and is running for reelection this fall. 

Should Ford enter the race, he would start at a fundraising disadvantage, Gillibrand has already raised $4 million ad of October and is expected to raise tens of millions. Also, senior Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has reportedly pushed away potential primary challengers to Gillibrand. Schumer is also a former chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

However, the Times notes that Ford -- the chairman of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council -- had been an adept fundraiser in the past, marshaling $15 million for his 2006 Senate bid.

Ford appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Wednesday but did not answer questions about his reported bid.