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Republicans See Bayh as Vulnerable, Even Without Pence Candidacy

In Evan Bayh’s five statewide races so far, he’s crushed opponents. And until recently -- very recently, in fact -- Bayh’s seat was considered safe yet again in this November’s elections.

But Republican candidate Don Bates says for more than year now he’s told crowds Bayh can be beaten. He says he used to get looks and a few laughs.

“And now all of a sudden people do believe. Polling data today shows Evan Bayh can be beaten. Doesn’t matter who it is, Evan Bayh’s numbers stay the same,” Bates said.

But the GOP’s hopes for Bayh’s seat rested mainly on Sixth District Republican Mike Pence entering the race. Pence flirted with running until Tuesday, saying he’d rather lead Republican efforts to win a majority in the House in November.

Bates, who doesn’t enjoy nearly the same name recognition or war chest as Pence, is trying to galvanize a support base by characterizing Democrats as socialists and anti-American.

“I’m running more against Barack Obama than Evan Bayh. Evan Bayh cannot stop this president and cannot stop his party. Barack Obama’s philosophy for America is the polar opposite of my philosophy for America,” he said.

Richard Behney is another GOP hopeful. He’s a licensed plumber – and says Joe the Plumber partially motivated his first foray into politics. Behney's the leader of the Indiana Tea Party.

“I don’t care if I win this or not. I am not in this to be Senator. I am a licensed plumber. And I know crap when I see it. And there’s a lot of crap in Washington, D.C.” he said.

He implored a crowd of college Republicans this week to answer whether they were slaves to the US government. He says he doesn’t believe President Obama believes in personal liberties and says he truly believes beating Bayh would help preserve democracy.

“I’m afraid of losing our republic and losing our constitution, state’s rights and America,” he said.

State Senator Marlin Stutzman and former Eighth District Representative John Hostettler are also running for the GOP nomination.

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