We at ALO have got to get better timing or an iPad or something. We missed two weeks worth of posting during all the Buyer vacancy and Coats candidacy hullabaloos and now we were on a playdate with some wee little young-uns as the wildfire announcement of Senator Evan Bayh’s decision to not seek re-election flashed across the airwaves and tubes.
Our initial thoughts were that there would not likely be a way for the party to name a nominee with the passing of the deadline, but upon further study we concur with our friend over at iPOPA that this announcement would trigger Indiana Code 3-13-1-3:
United States Senator or state office
Sec. 3. Except as provided in IC 3-10-8-7, a candidate vacancy for United States Senator or a state office shall be filled by the state committee of the political party.
As added by P.L.5-1986, SEC.9. Amended by P.L.10-1989, SEC.17.
Therefore, Indiana state law permits the state central committee to appoint someone to fill a ballot vacancy, but the person’s name connot appear on the primary ballot.
That settled this does open a fat can of nightcrawlers for virtually every Democrat in the state, and some outside. But mostly WHO? I am certain that we won’t mention any names that haven’t already been mentioned one every other blog. Although it is interesting that according to each blog you read the list attributed to unnamed outsiders is usually a clue as to who the outsiders are.
The list as we have heard it now and you might guess is exhaustive runs a little something like this but in no particular order:
Former Governor Joe Kernan
Former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson
Congressman Baron Hill
Congressman Brad Ellsworth
Former Indiana Health Commissioner, New York City Health Commissioner and 2008 candidate for the 7th Congressional District Dr. Woody Myers
Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel
Former Secretary of State Joe Hogsett
Former Lieutenant Governor Kathy Davis
Marion County Sheriff Frank Anderson
Former Senator and Senator Bayh’s Father Birch Bayh
Don’t scoff at that last one. Bayh Sr. (actually the second) is a wise and savvy man with tons of energy and three congressional amendments to his credit. We remember people begging him to enter the 2004 gubernatorial race following the tragic passing of Governor Frank O’Bannon and after Kernan’s initial bow out.
There is a lot to sort out here, but the most important thing to sort through is why, if Senator Bayh has been harboring such doubts, would he wait so long and put the party at such a disadvantage.
But lets look on the bright side:
1. First, this belief that it is written in stone that the Republicans are going to have a landslide year is, as yet, wishful thinking. The comparisons to 1994 while compelling, at least so far are strained. While there was an upheaval against the Clinton administration, there was not such an overwhelming dislike of gridlock as polls are showing now. Disapproval ratings of Republicans in congress are higher than any disapproval of the President and his party’s congressional membership and as yet no one seems to have heard any central theme coalescing for the R’s as Newt Gingrich’s Contract with on America did then. Sidebar: Wasn’t one of the main planks the signers of the Contract vowed to adhere to a pledge to term limits and to serve no more than 4 terms? Wasn’t 3rd District’s Congressman Mark Souder a signer of that? How many years has he served?
2. This is now an open seat and whoever our side picks will not be too far behind a four person Republican primary that will likely prove expensive and provide a great deal of fodder against the ultimate Republican nominee.
3. What will Evan Bayh do with the $13 million sitting in his committee. He is limited in who he can give it to and how much he can simply keep, but he could set-up a PAC. ALO thinks he is most likely to sit on it. But even just one million of it could be spent to very great use across the state.
It is a profoundly surprising political year and the Brett Favre-ness of this late exit is certainly of concern, but there is so much more yet to happen.
Stay tuned. Please feel free to offer comments.