IN-Sen: Who Will Run? (UPDATE: Pence Won’t)

How about Mike Pence? From the Politico:

House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) will speak with aides this afternoon to discuss whether to jump into the Indiana Senate race. […]

But aides are skeptical he’ll pull the trigger. There are concerns that he publicly passed on the opportunity to run last month, citing the GOP’s strong position in the House. Further, he’s considered among the strongest candidates for governor of Indiana in 2012.

Privately, aides to Pence say he was concerned about Bayh’s $13 million in the bank, but now Pence could be able to “walk into the seat,” according to an aide.

I find it hard to imagine Mike Pence actually doing this — the mechanics seem to be too difficult to pull off with the filing deadline so soon. That said, the rumors are swirling; we’re even hearing some chatter about Gov. Mitch Daniels plunging into the race.

For the Democrats, speculation seems to be centering on current Reps. Brad Ellsworth and Baron Hill, ex-Rep. Tim Roemer (the current Ambassador to India), and Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel, who is viewed as one of the party’s leading candidates for the gubernatorial race in 2012. But of course, Democrats may need to make sure that the ballot is clear before getting the opportunity to hand the nomination over to any of these guys. (And, as it stands right now, that’s an open question.) Otherwise, we may be looking at a Charlie Wilson-style write-in campaign.

UPDATE (Crisitunity): So what about Tamyra d’Ippolito, college-town coffee shop owner and erstwhile Senate candidate? TPM contacted her camp and finds that she’s currently 1,000 votes short of the required 4,500, with a particular shortage in IN-08 (she needs at least 500 in each congressional district). Somehow, given the choice between running her or naming their own preferred candidate, I don’t think the party will get actively involved in the efforts to help her to get on the ballot in time. Neither does d’Ippolito: “So I have no idea what they will do, but they have not been cooperative so far,” d’Ippolito added. “It would be nice if they turned around and became cooperative, but I don’t know.”

UPDATE: It’s now sounding like Mike Pence won’t run, despite an hour or two of interest. Chris Cillizza tweets that Pence’s spokesman’s official statement is: “Mr. Pence has filed for re-election to the 6th Congressional District of Indiana.” Which apparently is code for “no.”

LATER UPDATE (James): d’Ippolito’s campaign manager has told Real Clear Politics that their chances of getting all the required signatures are “slim to none”, but that they won’t step aside if they somehow do.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Cross former Democratic Governor Joe Kernan off the list; he says he won’t run.

107 thoughts on “IN-Sen: Who Will Run? (UPDATE: Pence Won’t)”

  1. 2012, not 2010.  that said, when the snow stops, I say we egg his house!  immature? yes. ineffective? yes.  cathartic, hell yes!  douchetard!

  2. We have Ellsworth run, and have Weinzapfel run for his House seat. It would not be a sure thing, but hey it gives a good shot at keeping both seats.

  3. the deadline’s tomorrow, right? The elections website says friday, but the actual form says tomorrow if you download the pdf.

  4. I’m usually a defender of Bayh on this blog.  I don’t know why he would leave reasonable moderates like Ellsworth, Hill or Donnelly in a bind if they happen to want to run.  This frustrates me more than the Biden situation because Beau NEVER gave the impression that he wanted to run.  It was all assumed.    

  5. Out of the US representatives (current or former), Hill strikes me as the right balance of moderate enough to appeal to Indiana, but no so far to the right that he’ll cause a lot of Nelson-Bayh-Lincoln wailing about how terrible Democrats are. I could see both Ellsworth and Roemer doing the latter a lot.

    Weinzapfel would be an interesting option too though.

  6. We don’t lose a House seat and get a young, charismatic guy from the right part of the state. Who, BTW, does not currently work in Washington DC and who has never been a lobbyist or lived in Virgina. If he runs a strong campaign I’d easily give us the advantage in a Weinzapfel / Coats race.

    And if it’s one of the congresscritters, I hope it’s Baron Hill. Interestingly, he ran against Coats in the 1990 Senate election, only lost by like 7 points even though Coats was the incumbent, it was a good Republican year, a more Republican state and Hill was only a state rep. Hill’s got more money than Ellsworth and also has been a better representative in terms of voting record, IMO.  

  7. a replacement candidate when the incumbent drops out regardless of whether other primary candidates have filed.  Otherwise, fringe candidates could end up being the nominee on a regular basis.

  8. that, coupled with )hopefully) a good candidate means we might have a shot.  Plus indiana might not be as red as we think.  Obama did in, we gained 3 seats in 06, daniels and bush’s wins could be chalked up to bad (or nonexistent in Kerry’s case) campaigns.  this is what happens when we don’t run in a state, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  the repubs win in mass will encourage them to run more there, and hopefully we will have the guts to run more here.

  9. When in need of humor, I often turn to Wonkette, which headlined Bayh’s decision thusly:

    “Someone Get Harold Ford On a Plane to Indiana.”

    Remember: it could be worse, Indiana Democrats!

  10. and for the first time, Bayh actually showed some ability to launch a few zingers and not just be the monotone robot he’s been for the last few years. “I don’t love Congress” was like the most blunt statement he made. Maybe if he had been this honest before, Obama probably would have selected him as Veep or some other cabinet job.

    But I was struck about something else he said: “I am an executive at heart”. It could mean he might run for governor again. Mitch Daniels is term limted in 2012, and Bayh will only be 57 in that year.  

  11. You know, as I’m looking at the situation, I wonder if he quit the race today on purpose, knowing there wouldn’t be time for any one else to get in the race before the filing deadline, knowing the Republicans were stuck with a weak set of candidates and knowing the Dems would be able to pick the strongest nominee possible come August.  

  12. Hill would be BY FAR the more reliable Democrat. Hill is basically a mainstream Dem who calls himself a Blue Dog to appeal to his right-leaning district. Hill would probably be slightly to the left of Bayh.

    Ellsworth, OTOH, is a genuinely conservative Democrat. He’d be another Ben Nelson.

    On the other hand, maybe Ellsworth would be more electable? If Hill is equally electable though, I really hope they go with him.  

  13. I’ve been going to various blogs, and one thing Ed Morrissey from the right wing blog Hot Air has stated is that he thinks having to nominate through caucus will make it easier for a “left-wing idealouge” to be nominted by the Dems. Is this true? It is true in Minnesota, where Morrissey is from (Minnesota has probably the worst nominating system in the country), but I’m wondering if it’s likely that someone like Ellsworth (who is apparently pro-life, among other things), would have a hard time making it through the nominating process.  

  14. needed signatures by the Friday deadline? And therefore get her on the ballot.

    (That would be one hell of a dirty trick. Do these sigs need to be Democrats, or from any registered voter?}

    Would the Dem party still be able to name a candidate?

  15. That holds up here with Evan Bayh. Basically he skips out on re-election with less than a week left, doesn’t tell Reid before doing it, and hands his seat over on a silver platter to the Republicans.

    Those 18 and 20 seat majorities are going to look pretty sweet compared to how the Senate will break down in 2011 and 2012.

  16. Bayh’s real reason for retiring, as tweeted by Ezra Klein:

    Apparently, Evan Bayh wants to spend more time scolding his family for moving too far to the left.

  17. Late to the party comment wise but this is a disaster. And just as there were signs of some improvement in Obama approval, the economy and polling across the board. All these retirements are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Senate control clearly in play now. Fingers crossed they can sort out the filing issue to get someone decent here to void a double-whammy catastrophe.

  18. And could see Weinzapel do that. He tried running for Congress when he was a State Rep. in 1996 but lost to Hostettler by a slim margin.

  19. … and if (a monster size “if!”) it all worked out, Weinzapfel would be a less conservative Congressman than Ellsworth, and we’d be rid of Evan Bayh.

    I don’t know about you, Hoosierdem, but at least now I can openly say what I’ve kind-of felt for a long time — Dick Lugar is my favorite current homestate Senator.

  20. How about Roemer runs now and gives Ellsworth 2 more years in the House. Then Ellsworth runs for the open seat held by the retiring Lugar (with 6 years of House experience) and Hill runs for Governor?

    That sounds better to me.

  21. Ellsworth has the least serious competition — the frontrunner is some doctor who’s raised about $100k. Donnelly’s pretty close to Ellsworth, his only opponent is a wacko State Rep, but she has had a little fundraising succcess — around $120k over two months. Hill’s seat is a tossup at best right now, and if he withdrew the Democrats wouldn’t be able to appoint a replacement because he has two primary challengers. On the other hand, Hill’s got the least to lose by switching races.

  22. that’s why Pence is meeting with his Aides as we speak to discuss a Senate Bid.

    This Seat is his if he enters.

  23. A candidate may submit a petition for certification to the county voter registration office no earlier than Monday, January 4, 2010, and no later than 12:00 noon, local prevailing time, on Tuesday, February 16, 2010. (IC 3-8-2-8 and IC 3-8-2-10)

    pp. 16-17.

  24. The question is, can they not file in advance and we do the same thing to their House seats that we are doing to the Senate seat.

  25. I think Ellsworth’s seat would be harder to win back if worse came yo worse.  Mike Sodrel can be beat in 2012 by almost anyone even with redistricting, the man is out of the mainstream.  

  26. Actually I hadn’t thought about that. In 2010 there’s a ton to be said for running a candidate who’s not associated with DC. I think that’s a strong argument for Weinzapfel.

  27. Roemer is the best of both worlds. Former Congressman with name ID and resume and if he runs we won’t need to fill a House seat.

  28. Indiana has a history of electing mayors to the Senate. Vance Hartke (D, 1958-76) was Mayor of Evansville before he was elected, and Dick Lugar (R, 1986-present) was Mayor of Indianapolis.

    (BTW, Hartke’s daughter, Anita Hartke, was our House candidate in VA-07 in 2008, and is running again in 2010.)

  29. If the GOP regains the House (still unlikely at this point) there’s no reason to think Boehner would get booted.  And if we hold the House and Boehner calls it quits Cantor probably will be the GOPs number one for a while.  Pence probably thinks being Governor is a much better bet than languishing as number 3 or 2 in the House for a while, waging a long-shot campaign for President, or risking his career in a very unstable Senate race.

  30. He basicly said as much a few weeks ago.  Of course, an open-seat race in Indiana looks a lot more attractive than a (at-best) toss up against Bayh

  31. I know some states (Florida for example) limit governors only to two consecutive terms at a time but let you run again later.  Does indiana do that too?

  32. Bayh’s going to be living in Virginia as an employee of the beltway bubble (lobbyist, figurehead exec ala Harold Ford). Their elections are in 2013.

    Evan Bayh is cashing in to get the money while he can get it.

  33. I have no doubt that Ellsworth, Hill or even Donnelly will make a great candidate.  They will make a better candidate than whoever the GOP puts up.  The national winds are against us in this case. Look at Louisiana.  Charlie Melancon is a great candidate and he’s getting walloped in the polls by a man like David Vitter?  The man is arguably just as conservative as Jim Bunning and he’s winning by 24 points against a respectable business owner with deep ties to the state who has had a truly moderate record as a legislator.  Anyone who wants to call Charlie Melancon a liberal or a partisan Dem for that matter is flat out LYING.  

  34. With her numbers against Daniels in ’08 and her electoral implosions before then, her political career is over. She’s Coakleyed up enough times that no self-respecting Dem would ever support her over heavies like Hill or Ellsworth.

    I know you want the GOP to win this race, but this is ridiculous.  

  35. would like that, wouldn’t you? The woman can’t even get a decent haircut let alone run a Senate campaign. I would be surprised if she got above 35%.  

  36. But that could be part of the problem in Melancon’s case – he’s so very far from the left that the left doesn’t care what happens to him, while the right already has Vitter.

    Happily the position of Democrats isn’t as dire in Indiana as it is in Louisiana (seems weird to type that – but I think it’s true).

  37. Kentucky and Louisiana aren’t Indiana. Both are deeply conservative states that Obama lost by double digits. According to Gallup, Obama’s current approval rating in Indiana is 55%.

    Dan Coats is NOT well regarded here, believe me. In the words of a lady I work with when she heard that Bayh was retiring earlier today, “I hope Dan Coats doesn’t win because I hate carpetbaggers”. She’s far from the only person in Indiana who thinks that. Hostettler is too crazy to win statewide, even in a fairly Republican year.

    Furthermore, Ellsworth is in many ways more conservative than Bayh and definitely would pass the moderate test. I personally am rooting for Weinzapfel, but Dems really have the pick of the litter of several strong candidates here. The GOP is stuck between a crazed teabagger and an incompetent lobbyist, both former Washingtonians with a strong odor of corruption. Even Hill, despite his previous statewide loss years ago, could probably beat anyone in the GOP field right now.    

  38. So really, Coakley is Massachusetts’ answer to JLT. Or would be if she had any name-rec whatsoever outside of her old Congressional District.

    Of course, Coakley will probably be AG of Massachusetts forever in spite of herself.

    Seriously, though, Dems nominating JLT is about the only way I can see that they could lose this race, given the uselessness of the current GOP field.  

  39. I think it was crappy of Bayh to put us in that situation.  I think Bayh should have given Democrats more notice.  It really shouldn’t matter what Obama’s numbers are in LA.  The race should be down to Melancon versus Vitter and Melancon wants to represent LA, Obama’s agenda doesn’t mean squat in the scheme of the race if people were actually looking at the candidates.  

  40. I know hes strongly pro-life while Bayh is pro-choice, but he does seem to be more fiscally populist than Bayh.

  41. Labelling every bad candidate as “Martha Coakley” is inaccurate. It’s only appropriate if they take a race for granted and then lose. Jill Long-Thompson is more along the lines of ex-Maine Gov. Joseph Brennan, who didn’t know when to quit. He ran for Governor in 1990 and 1994 and for Senate in 1996 and lost all three times.

  42. think JLT is similar to Coakley. JLT actually led in polls for a while, but she sat on her butt while she should have been campaigning.    

  43. but if he runs an insurgent primary campaign against Obama that would be something to see. It’d be a battle between liberals and moderates and actually give Bayh’s political career some actual meaning.

  44. This might be the most insulting thing I can say, but all this anger is making me wonder am I at SSP or some online Teabagger forum?

  45. In a state like Louisiana, I’m not sure the liberal wing of the Democratic Party is that large. I could be wrong, but I’d guess the majority of Democrats in Louisiana are mainstream moderate and conservative leaning.

    I know Louisiana has a very unique and colorful political history (it seems like party hopping is the norm sometimes) but, I’d think Melancon would get the small amount of liberal vote simply because he’s not as far right as Vitter, likewise for moderates. Conservative Democrats would be Melancon’s base, and he should get support from typical GOP voters because of Vitter’s love for Huggies.

  46. If Bayh had given the Dems more notice, he would have given Republicans more notice as well, and allowed them to get a better candidate in the race.

    Clearly, it would have been better for Bayh to run again, but I’m thinking the way he did this does give Dems a good chance to retain the seat.  

  47. He’s a true Conservative Democrat in a center-right state that seems to be low key as far as calling out the party (he’s not like Boren), and he’s a proven winner in a staunchly Republican district. It’s hard to see why Ellsworth would not be the top choice.

    I thought Hill’s been eying a run for Governor, it would make no sense to run and then step down to run for Governor.

    As far as “reliable Democrat”, that all boils down to what you consider reliable. Personally, I think Ellsworth is great on social issues and fairly good on fiscal matters.

  48. There’s some mention on the Politico article on the main page about how the Democratic Leadership started asking about commitments from Senators if they were running again after Dorgan announced his retirement. Bayh never committed, though he never stated he’d retire (until now), everyone just assumed he’d run again.

    Also, MSNBC said that the White House was not surprised.

    I think there’s probably a lot of behind the scenes stuff that went on that we don’t know about yet.

    I’d actually venture to say that most of the people fussing about Bayh are probably just using this as a reason to bash him because of his previous actions or his views. Not everyone, but there are definitely a few people on here who simply cannot stand the guy and would probably find a way to bash him if he donated all the money to the DNC.

  49. There’s some mention on the Politico article on the main page about how the Democratic Leadership started asking about commitments from Senators if they were running again after Dorgan announced his retirement. Bayh never committed, though he never stated he’d retire (until now), everyone just assumed he’d run again.

    Also, MSNBC said that the White House was not surprised.

    I think there’s probably a lot of behind the scenes stuff that went on that we don’t know about yet.

    I’d actually venture to say that most of the people fussing about Bayh are probably just using this as a reason to bash him because of his previous actions or his views. Not everyone, but there are definitely a few people on here who simply cannot stand the guy and would probably find a way to bash him if he donated all the money to the DNC.

  50. Roemer’s resume could be a huge strike against him in an anti-DC year – congressional staffer, congressman, married to the daughter of a senator, 9/11 commission, ambassador. I’d be hard-pressed to think of any Indiana politician not named “Richard Lugar” who’s more closely tied to the DC establishment.

  51. Is an 81, as of 2008 (according to Project Vote Smart). If he actually comes across populist while voting like that, I’m sort of impressed. They have his Christian Coalition rating for 2007-2008 at 80. So yes, I could definitely see him as being to the right of Bayh.

  52. most Dems in Louisiana are moderate/conservative. I noticed on the minimum wage map on Wikipedia that Louisiana has no state minimum wage, and when the Dems had the trifecta with Blanco as governor, no effort was made AFAIK to instate a state minimum wage, while in 2006 they overwhelmingly passed a ban on the sale of violent video games to minors (though it was later struck down in court) and passed a ban on most abortions that would go into effect if Roe was overturned.

  53. Erick Erickson has already endorsed that plan (though he originally thought Tamyra d’Ippolito was male).

    I doubt they’ll accomplish much other than sending in a bunch of fraudulent petitions to keep the board of elections busy briefly.

  54. If that plan gets accomplished then Bayh’s obvious plan of retiring before the filing deadline (so as to not get a stronger Repub in there) will bite him in the ass. But if they dont succeed then it was a shrewd move on his part. Though if Daniels runs I definitely could see him getting the necessary signatures in time. But he has gone on record as saying he wont run for public office again. Him and Pence seem to be the only ones capable of achieving such a feat (its already Monday!)

  55. That’s sad, Tamyra is a pretty feminine name. I guess you lose sight of that kind of stuff when your party coughs up candidates with ridiculous names (Bob Dold, anyone? then again, we do have Krystal Ball…)

  56. They passed that violent video game ban? Yet their alcohol-purchasing laws are amongst the least restrictive in the country. Not to mention the very bohemian New Orleans’ Mardi Gras is a state institution.  

  57. Always had heard he had a pretty solid economic populist voting record but maybe I am wrong if what you and others are saying is correct. What I do know for sure is hes definitely to Bayh’s right on social issues…no doubt about that.  

  58. Bayh in this race is much better for the Dems than any other Dem being in it. But by shrewd I just meant…if hes gonna retire then might as well do it like this. Since he knows the probable GOP opposition is Dan Coats.

  59. When the VP choice was about to be announced in ’08 I drove by to check out the satellite trucks–it’s about a two-block detour off my commute.

    Nice house–my understanding is that it was remodeled/expanded following a fire in the early ’00s–but if it were my house I don’t think I would have flown the Indiana flag over the front door.

  60. and he came close to beating him to. He was just a little known state rep. running against a sitting U.S. Senator during a republican friendly year.

  61. http://realclearpolitics.blogs…  has this:

    Reports now indicate he told his own staff of his decision not to run on Friday, but only informed the White House and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today.

    If that’s so, it’s kind of surprising rumors of this bombshell didn’t leak out over the weekend.

  62. and when Bayh’s salary goes up as a “consultant/lobbyist/advisor/etc”, he can move to Northern Virginia.

    The loss of Bayh will be felt hard by self-hating Democrats and the Beltway Party. But it’s one more seat towards the dream scenario where there’s 50 Republicans, 48 Dems, 1 Bernie, and 1 Liebercrat and Lieberman votes for Mitch McConnell to be Majority Leader.

  63. Kernan would have been my main choice, but I think Ellsworth would be great.  Do we have any bench in his area though?

  64. Bob Dold doesn’t find anything ridiculous about Bob Dold’s name, but Bob Dold forgets that there is a well-known candidate whose name is so similar to Bob Dold’s that people might raise their eyebrows when they hear the name Bob Dold.

    Bob Dold.

  65. and don’t forget other ones (Michigan gubernatorial candidate Mike Cox, former majority leader Dick Armey, etc)

  66. Except that the older one seems to have Blagojevich hair, so I’m betting he runs for office eventually. Man, doesn’t there seem to be a family political dynasty in every state now? It’s hard to think of a state where there’s NOT one.  

    Oregon? Nebraska? Wyoming? hmmm….

  67. … would be Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel.  When he was much younger and in the legislature he ran an unsuccessful (but close) race against John Hostettler.  He’s a much better candidate now, and would be formidable — and is also being mentioned to run statewide.  But he’s also young, has a good job, and may want to sit out this cycle for something more favorable.

    As I’ve touted before, it’s also home to former House Speaker John Gregg, and some other local Democrats.  So yes, we would have some decent folks to choose from.

  68. … provided that loyalty, character, and political guts skip a generation, and they take more after their grandfather than their dad!!

  69. I couldn’t stop giggling at the fact that there were members of the House named Dicks, Cox, Dick Armey, Boehner (in my mind, “Boner”) and – the coup de gras – Bonior (read: BONIER).

  70. I plugged his address into Zillow and it estimates a vlaue of $2,035,000 for the place. Also, if you make the safe assumption that Bayh sends his sons to his alma mater, St. Albans School, the house is pretty convenient.

    He won’t move, unless it is to move back to Indiana to run for Governor in 2012.

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