I’m pretty sure that if Pataki wanted to rejoin New York politics he would have jumped into the New York Senate race by now. I can’t see why he wants to try to run for President in 2012: he would be an extreme underdog in the primary to guys like Mitt Rommeny (my pick for most likely to win the primaries and Obama’s toughest General election opponnet) Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, or even SD Senator John Thun. It would simply be better for him to challange Gillibrand but I guess if you really don’t want to go back to the New York scene then you don’t want to, and Pataki has indeed been sending no signals since the summer that he wanted to run against Gillibrand back when he said he was thinking about it to top GOP NY officals.
In terms of a general election, a Ford indepenent bid would be interesting. One massive disadvantage Ford has is that unlike Lieberman, he isn’t the incumbent senator, and he has only been in New York for a few years while most of his political career (considering that he is still fairly young for a politican) was back in TN. He probably would only do slightly better than the average indepedent candidate.