Tag Archives: Evan Bayh

The Current State of the Indiana
and Pennsylvania Senate Races

Indiana Senate

With the Indiana Senate seat now officially open for just about a week, many elected officials from both parties report themselves to be in a “considering phase” about entering the statewide race.

Three members of the state delegation immediately indicated they will not run for Senate, however. Representatives Luke Messer (R-IN-6), Andre Carson (D-IN-7) and Larry Bucshon (R-IN-8) said publicly that they will not pursue a statewide bid, presumably to remain in the House.

On the other hand, representatives Jackie Walorski (R-IN-2), Marlin Stutzman (R-IN-3), Todd Rokita (R-IN-4), Susan Brooks (R-IN-5) and Todd Young (R-IN-9) all confirm they are at least thinking about running. Veteran Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-IN-1) has not made any public statement about the race, but is expected to remain in the House.

Of this group of congressional Republicans, Rep. Stutzman is most likely to run since he challenged Coats in the 2010 Republican primary before being elected to the House. It would not be surprising, however, to see several House members enter the race, even though they would be relinquishing congressional seats they virtually just won. All of the Hoosier State Republican representatives were elected in 2010 or later.
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Open Seat #3: Indiana Sen. Dan Coats

Several weeks ago, Indiana Sen. Dan Coats (R) promised to announce his 2016 political plans before April 5, and on Tuesday kept his word. When Coats announced such an early time frame upon making a re-election decision, it encouraged political speculation that he would retire, thus opening the seat for next year’s election. Such prognostication proved accurate because Sen. Coats announced that he will retire for the second time.

Coats first came to office when he succeeded his former congressional boss, then-Rep. Dan Quayle (R-IN-4). When Quayle defeated Sen. Birch Bayh (D) in 1980, it was Dan Coats who won the Ft. Wayne-anchored congressional seat that Quayle vacated. Coats would serve four terms, and then once again succeed Quayle when he was appointed in 1989 to fill the unexpired Senate term when the latter was elected Vice President. Coats would then win a special Senate election in 1990, filling the final two years of the term to which he was originally appointed. He then claimed a full six-year term in the next regular election. Coats decided to retire from the Senate in 1998, rather than face then-Gov. Evan Bayh (D) in what was expected to be a very tough re-election fight.

Upon his retirement, Coats served as US Ambassador to Germany, and then returned to Washington DC to join a lobbying firm. He rather surprisingly was recruited to return to elective politics in 2010, and this time ironically succeeded Sen. Bayh who himself had decided to retire expressing his disdain for continuing service in the federal legislative body on his way out. Now, it is former Sen. Bayh who is not yet completely ruling out a return to elective politics.

The Coats’ move opens a third Senate seat for the 2016 election cycle. A fourth may soon be coming if Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) decides to forgo re-election in order to concentrate on a presidential campaign, as expected. Earlier in the year, Democratic senators Barbara Boxer (CA) and Barbara Mikulski (MD) announced their respective retirements.
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Pence Making Moves

Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN-6) is a man on the move. Deciding not to pursue the House leadership track upon the GOP assuming the majority (he was the Republican Conference Chairman but didn’t seek re-election or run for any other leadership post), Mr. Pence has been circumspect as to his next political move. While it’s pretty clear he won’t seek re-election to the House in 2012, he doesn’t quell speculation that he is a potential presidential contender or candidate for governor of Indiana. Pence is highly regarded by the national conservative/Tea Party movement, thus giving him a base from which to run for president. The Hoosier State’s incumbent chief executive, Gov. Mitch Daniels (R), is ineligible to seek a third term, meaning an open seat campaign next year.

Pence isn’t saying much publicly about his plans, but his actions appear to reveal his eventual direction. He recently let it be known that he will be attending Republican Lincoln Day Dinners throughout Indiana in late January and all through February, suggesting his focus is statewide and not national. Furthermore, his gubernatorial prospects just became brighter. Republican Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman announced she won’t run for governor in 2012, as did outgoing Senator and former Gov. Evan Bayh (D). Watch for a Pence for governor campaign to take shape soon.
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Indiana Gov. Bayh Won’t Go

Outgoing Senator and former Gov. Evan Bayh (D-IN) announced that he will not run for his old job when it comes open in 2012 because of family considerations. Bayh bid the Senate farewell right before the candidate filing deadline early this year, expressing discontent with the Senate and Congress in general. Until this weekend, however, he had not ruled out again running for Governor. Bayh served as Indiana’s chief executive from 1991-1999 before winning the Senate seat. Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels is ineligible to seek re-election in 2012, as he is midway through his second consecutive term in office.

When the senator announced his retirement, he had more than $13 million in his campaign account. He only contributed about $1 million of that back to the Democratic Party to assist in the failed attempt at electing his would-be successor, Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-IN-8). Former Sen. Dan Coats (R) easily converted the open seat back to the Republican column, winning a 55-40% landslide victory. Deducting other expenses, Bayh still controls $10.2 million in campaign monies.

There also has been speculation that he might take a shot at the White House, with some going so far as to suggest that challenging President Obama in the Democratic primaries next year was a possibility for Mr. Bayh. Though the president is under fire from the left wing of his political base, Bayh is unlikely to be the favorite of those who think Obama has abandoned his liberal principles.

Throughout his career as governor and senator, Bayh consciously positioned himself closer to the center of the Democratic conference. Thus, he has a narrow path from which to run for President in 2012. The political set-up and timing is simply not right for him at this point in time, so few expect him to run. After Mr. Obama leaves office in 2016, assuming he’s re-elected, the political climate will probably look much different, which might create a better opportunity for a Bayh presidential effort.

In other presidential news from the weekend, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he will not be a candidate for national office next year. His “no way, no how” response when asked if he was moving toward running appears to shut the door on any Bloomberg for President effort.