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Eyeing the Senate

Tennessee could have one of the more interesting congressional races next year, pitting two education committee members against each other for a Senate seat.

Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr., a Democratic member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, has spent months preparing to challenge first-term Sen. Bill Frist, a Republican who sits on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

Rep. Harold E. Ford, Jr.

Mr. Ford recently asked his party's leaders to help him raise $2 million by the end of the year before he will commit to a race against Mr. Frist, 47.

David DiMartino, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said that his group would strongly support Mr. Ford if he became the party's nominee, but noted that the panel had not yet made any financial commitments to candidates.

It could be an uphill battle for the 29-year-old representative, who was first elected in 1996. The Ford family is well-known in the Memphis area, and his father previously held his congressional seat. But observers say Mr. Ford would encounter a tough and expensive statewide race.

He will announce his decision next month, according to his staff.

Personnel changes

The Department of Education announced two appointments this month to fill high-profile vacancies.

Kenneth R. Warlick will become the director of the office of special education programs, which oversees the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Mr. Warlick comes to the agency by way of Kentucky, where he was an associate commissioner of education from 1991 to 1998. In that role, he led the state education department's office of special instructional services and later the office of learning-programs development.

Erica Lepping has been officially named the spokeswoman for Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley. Ms. Lepping first worked in the office of public affairs as a press assistant and deputy press secretary beginning in 1997, then moved to the White House communications office earlier this year.

—Joetta L. Sack [email protected]

Vol. 19, Issue 16, Page 23

Published in Print: December 15, 1999, as Federal File

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