Harold Ford Jr.
Candidacy status: Exploring a run; will announce decision in late February.
Current take: Generating buzz in Democratic circles and attacks from Gillibrand; relative newcomer to New York.
Career: Former president of the National Writers Union; challenged then-U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2006 Democratic primary.
Candidacy status: Declared, June 2009
Current take: Appeals to left-of-center Democrats but not well known.
Candidacy status: Urged to consider a run by friends.
Current take: Popular moderate who isn't well known beyond Nassau County base.
Career: Former presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature from Valley Stream; briefly ran for New York City mayor in 2009; lost state comptroller bid in 1998 to Democrat H. Carl McCall; Port Authority commissioner
Candidacy status: Declared, January 2010
Current take: Has run for statewide office before but not well known beyond Nassau.
Career: Former three-term governor and state senator.
Candidacy status: GOP leaders want him to run.
Current take: Said to want to run for President or other executive office.
Sources: Candidates' Web sites; NYS Board of Elections