Politics particularly interested Forney, both as a journalist and as a participant. He was a man of strong but shifting loyalties, beginning and ending his career as a Democrat, with a twenty-year interruption as a devout Republican. He was first allied to the fortunes of Democrat James Buchanan, who became secretary of state in 1845 and arranged Forney's appointment as deputy surveyor of the port of Philadelphia. In the same year, he sold his Lancaster newspaper and became editor of the Pennsylvanian, a Democratic newspaper in Philadelphia. He held that position for seven years, even after being elected clerk of the House of Representatives in 1851 at the age of thirty-one and moving to Washington, D.C. He left the Pennsylvanian on his reelection to the clerkship in 1853 and joined the Washington Daily Union, the national Democratic organ. The following year he became a partner in the Union with A. O. P. Nicholson, and the two men prospered from House of Representatives printing contracts they arranged for the newspaper.