Standing before reporters in Indianapolis, Senator Evan Bayh announced he would not seek reelection in the fall. He pointed to extreme partisanship as the reason for his surprising retirement.
“I have often been a lonely voice for balancing the budget and restraining spending,” Bayh said. “I’ve worked with Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike to do the nation’s business in a way that is civil and constructive.”
Bayh, the former governor of Indiana, was first elected to the senate in 1998 and the again in 2002, following in the steps of his father, former Senator Birch Bayh. Insisting his motivation wasn’t based on political concern, Bayh said he was confident he would have retained his seat.
With Bayh’s decision to not seek reelection Democrats must now scramble to find a suitable candidate to run against the Republican nominee. Four Republicans are currently vying for the nomination including former US Senator Dan Coats.
With tomorrow being the filing date for petitions in Indiana, it is unlikely that any Democrat will formally file to run. That means the Indiana Democratic Party will have to choose their candidate from a list likely to include Representative Baron Hill of Seymour, Representative Brad Ellsworth of Evansville and Representative Joe Donnelly of Granger, all members of the Blue Dog coalition, a democratic group dedicated to fiscal responsibility.
Bayh’s senate seat was one of the seats Republicans had targeted in an attempt to retake the senate. Democrats will now face an up-hill battle in an attempt to retain the seat held by Evan Bayh in a state that is traditionally considered to be a Republican strong hold.