Things are going to look even better for Dan Coats now. It was thought that he would be able to give Bayh a run for his money this year. Indiana has historically been a red state and Coats is well known. That is why the Democrats had already jumped all over Coats. They were clearly worried about Bayh's ability to withstand a fight from Coats. And now it doesn't look like they'll even have time to field their own candidate unless they do some serious recruiting and petition signing in the next 24 hours.
There is a businesswoman, Tamyra d'Ippolito, who had already announced that she was running against Dan Coats for the Democratic nomination. As of last week, she had stated that she was about 1000 signatures short of the 4,500 signatures required by Indiana law to get on the ballot for the May primary. Here is her website - she doesn't seem to be fast on the draw in getting up some comment on how this announcement affects her campaign.
Geraghty points out that the deadline for collecting the petition signatures is actually tomorrow, but that candidates have until Friday to turn in those signatures. Perhaps some well-connected Democrat could get out there in the next 24 hours and rustle up those 4,500 signatures. If no one qualifies for getting on the ballot, the party could declare the nomination vacant and, after the May primary, nominate their own candidate. I don't know if they can do that if Tamyra d'Ippolito comes through with her signatures. It would be an interesting legal question. If she doesn't qualify, the party can pick their own nominee and skip all that messy democracy stuff about having the people pick a candidate. They might pick one of several Democratic congressmen facing tough reelection battles such as Baron Hill or Brad Ellsworth. Of course, that might make their own seats vulnerable to a Republican takeover.
Indiana Republicans might want to do their bit to help d'Ippolito get over the top with her quest for signatures. If I were in the state GOP, I'd be printing off her petition forms and getting signatures for her all afternoon long.
Aides say that Mike Pence is going to huddle with aides to discuss jumping into a race that he passed up last month. If so, he'll have to figure out how to get those 4,500 signatures overnight.
If Bayh had announced this earlier, there would have been time for some other Democrat to step up and run for the nomination without all the folderol of having to have the party try to muscle out this small businesswoman who had launched this hopeless campaign to move aside a strong incumbent such as Evan Bayh. But now you might as well color Indiana red. Charlie Cook has moved Indiana to "Leans Republican" but I would predict that it will be "Likely Republican" before too long.
And how fatuous is it of Evan Bayh to complain about all the partisanship in Washington as his reason for retiring. Come on! As if the place hasn't been partisan in all this nation's history. The guy ran for office in 1998 in the middle of the Clinton impeachment mess. Did that environment lead him to think that Washington wasn't a partisan town? It's all a bunch of hooey!
Perhaps Martin Frost speaks for all his fellow Democrats when he writes at Politico,
re Evan Bayh:Hee hee.
The sky is officially falling.