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Bayh Opts Out, D'Ippolito Says Campaign "Thwarted" By State Dems

Monday's announcement that Senator Evan Bayh will not seek re-election means there's just a single Democrat left in the race.

But Bloomington restaurant owner Tamyra D'Ippolito is still struggling to collect signatures by Tuesday's deadline -- thanks in some part, she says, to nonchalance on the part of local Democratic leaders.

1,000 Signatures Still Needed

An e-mail from D'Ippolito's campaign to state Democratic leaders Monday asked for their help collecting the more than one thousand signatures she still needs to receive in order to formally appear on May's primary ballot.

But while asking for their help, campaign officials also chided fellow Democrats in the letter, saying D'Ippolito's candidacy had been  "thwarted" by inaction by Democrats at the local level.  But Putnam County Democratic Chairman Dave Bohmer said the letter struck the wrong tone.

"If you're a party chair and you read that -- 'Many of you thwarted our efforts and made it immensely difficult to get our petitions signed' -- would that make you warm and fuzzy and say 'Gee, I want to go out and help her now?", Bohmer said.

Bohmer said sending a poison pen letter is a classic mistake by political first-timers looking to motivate their constituencies.

"You know that old adage 'you attract more flies with sugar than with vinegar' but it's amazing how many people -- including people in politics -- don't understand that.  At least the neophytes in politics don't."

New Tactics

But D'Ippolito said she had to try a new tactic after months of indifference to her campaign while Evan Bayh was still in the race.

"We have begged and pleaded and asked nicely for months," she said.  "And we have received really fascinating rejections, basically."

Candidates for federal office in Indiana have until Tuesday at noon to hand in 4,500 -- 500 from each congressional district -- in order to take part in the primary election.

D'Ippolito says she's had trouble collecting signatures from the state's 8th Congressional District and isn't sure she'll meet the deadline.

Once signatures are submitted, clerks have until Friday to certify the signatures against rolls of registered voters to ensure there are no irregularities which would cause a signature to be thrown out.

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