Bye the Bayh…

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:

IC 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

Bart Peterson

Congressman Baron Hill

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

Dr. Woody Myers

Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel

Former Secretary of State Joe Hogsett

Joe Hogsett

Former Lieutenant Governor Kathy Davis

Kathy Davis

Marion County Sheriff Frank Anderson

Sheriff Frank Anderson

Former Senator and Senator Bayh’s Father Birch Bayh

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.


4 responses to “Bye the Bayh…

  1. What’s with all the old names? Understanding the populist rage against “the establishment” and political insiders, why don’t we kick around young, enthusiastic names? Why not get a real outsider? In the 3rd District we all rave over Codie Ross as the HD-51 candidate. He’s got a tough district, but he’s raising several eyebrows. He’s a newcomer to it all, but has a ton of energy. One could hope that would make up for a lack of experience.

  2. “why, if Senator Bayh has been harboring such doubts, would he wait so long and put the party at such a disadvantage.”

    Adjust your tinfoil hats, because here is my Crazy Theory regarding this. Not sure if I totally believe it,but it’s something that I’ve seen bandied about and given Bayh’s behavior I can’t dismiss it offhand.

    Did he wait until now so that the Indiana Democratic Party would *have* to appoint someone to the ballot rather than allow a primary? This puts the power in the hands of the state party who has pretty much operated as an arm of the Bayh campaign, with the added benefit of keeping the smelly hippies and liberal activists that upset Bayh so much out of the primary.

    Anyway, onto less tinfoil-hat things, I was just joking around when I tossed Birch Bayh as a name out there to some friends. I’m very curious about this possibility, and if the state party has to name someone to the ballot I like the idea of an ‘elder statesman’ type that gives the party time to find a longer term replacement in 6 years.

  3. Indiana Progressive

    GO TEAM WEINZAPFEL!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. If you would like to let the members of the State Central Committee know your thoughts on who should be selected as our candidate for U.S. Senate, here is the contact information:

    Me, I’m a liberal and would love to see Andre Carson as our candidate but, as I’m often reminded, we liberals can’t get elected statewide in this state. 😦 We’re not even supposed to try, apparently. My second choice is Baron Hill. I’ve only lived in Indiana for three years so I don’t know much about Joe Kernan and many of the other candidates mentioned above. Will hold off on any decision of them until I know more. I am inclined not to vote for Brad Ellsworth, who seems to be winning the early whisper caucus.

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