Ed Koch Frees Himself From Gillibrand Endorsement

This afternoon, The Times reported that Harold Ford Jr. is—as the Observer has heard—polling about a possible campaign.

One question the poll posed was whether an endorsement from former Mayor Ed Koch would influence how prospective voters felt about Mr. Ford.

Which is odd, because in June Mr. Koch said he would back Kirsten Gillibrand. Apparently, that endorsement does not stand.

“I think she’s fine,” Mr. Koch told me this afternoon. “But I’m resentful of the effort to keep people out, so I decided, rather than stay with that endorsement—and I announced this publicly on New York 1—that I’m maintaining my neutrality at this point, so that I can view any of the candidates that come in on the basis of who’s better, or who’s best.

“I’m free!” he said with a laugh.

It’s not the first endorsement Mr. Koch has rolled back. Two weeks ago, he qualified his endorsement of Governor David Paterson by saying it’s “not on substance. I reserve the right to change my mind.”

Mr. Koch said he hasn’t made up his mind about the Senate race.

“I think they’re both very able and there are others out there who are able. What bothers me is the effort to prevent a primary. I believe in primaries,” he said. “It creates excitement. I believe primaries strengthen the party as opposed to those who believe it weakens the party.”

The former mayor said he knew Mr. Ford personally, that he is “a very charming guy,” and that the former congressman was more than welcome to use his name in such a poll.

“I didn’t know he was doing that, but I was complimented by the inclusion,” he said. “I would hope that she uses my name too—in this context.” Ed Koch Frees Himself From Gillibrand Endorsement