Breaking: Pence passes on Senate bid against Bayh?

posted at 12:15 pm on January 26, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Erick Erickson reports this morning that Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) has decided to stay in the House in anticipation of a Republican takeover rather than run against Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN).  A second source indicates Erick is correct, which may be both a disappointment and a relief:

Sources are confirming for me this morning that Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) will not run for the United States Senate.

In fact, later today the Congressman will send out a letter to supporters outlining his reasons. In it he will write:

First because I have been given the responsibility to shape the Republican comeback as a member of the House Republican Leadership and, second, because I believe Republicans will win back the majority in the House of Representatives in 2010.

Lots of people on the outside have been pushing Pence, but he has all along seemed interested in staying to fight for 2010. A Senate run would bring into question his ability to lead the House GOP Conference at the same time.

This is refreshing news to many conservatives who were fearful that Pence leaving the House would leave its leadership devoid of a truly conservative voice.

Early polling had Pence edging Bayh already, and Bayh was certainly vulnerable.  He only got 45% against any of the three potential Republican challengers (44% against Pence’s 47%) according to a Rasmussen poll.  With Democrats on the defensive and Indiana a critical state in the cap-and-trade debate, Pence probably could have trounced Bayh.

However, in order to do that, he would have had to step on the toes of another 1994 Contract with America veteran, former Rep. John Hostettler.  Hostettler also polled within the margin of error in the race, and perhaps Pence’s withdrawal will boost his chances.  Conservatives in Indiana had already begun protesting Pence’s considered move into the race, and it would have opened a rare rift between classic fiscal conservatives in a state where Republicans should do well regardless.

This could be addition by subtraction, depending on how good a candidate Hostettler will be in a statewide race.  Bayh has a big war chest already, but the winds are not at his back — and Indiana voters have to think about the cap-and-trade bill that will decimate their state economy if Democrats wind up with enough votes in the Senate to pass it in the 112th Congress.

Erick has the full letter that will go to Pence’s supporters.  He also speculates that Pence may be aiming higher — but the last President to win an election from the House was James Garfield (the only one to do it directly) 130 years ago.  He would need to aim at the governor’s job first, and that will open up in 2012, the same time as the presidential election. One pass through the Governor’s mansion might put Pence in position for a 2016 bid.

Update: There’s also Marlin Stutzman, who polled double-digits behind Bayh.  He’s a former state Senator who hasn’t yet won a state-wide race (and neither has Hostettler or Pence, for that matter).  Still, former state Senators seem to be in vogue at the moment ….


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Huh?

NYconservative on January 26, 2010 at 12:17 PM

He should go for the IN Gov first. Governorships are the best route to run for Office. I believe he could do up to two terms as IN Gov and still be around 60 years old. Not too old to be President at all.

WashJeff on January 26, 2010 at 12:01 PM

They already have Mitch Daniels, a Republican Governor, and from what I hear, he’s doing a great job and they love him. I’m not sure if they have term limits in Indiana or not.

Knucklehead on January 26, 2010 at 12:08 PM

Mitch’s second term ends in 2012. I am also not awre of term limits in IN, but any good politician does not run for GOv a third time. I think MItch will step down.

WashJeff on January 26, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Shouldn’t be that big of a shock. And frankly, we need Pence’s influence in the House. Finding a viable Republican candidate to go up against Bayh will be easier this cycle than usual.

Sugar Land on January 26, 2010 at 12:20 PM

No, Ed. Stop pimping Hostettler.

Go Marlin!

Abby Adams on January 26, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Too bad the comments from the headlines can’t be imported over when a headline becomes a blog post.

OmahaConservative on January 26, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Well Marlin Stutzman was mentioned in the other thread on this and I have to say that he looks like an excellent candidate who the Tea Party and Club for Growth should get behind. I’m not sure what kind of campaigner he is though, I only read his site.

As for Hostettler, He’s too much of a protectionist and isolationist for me to be in the Senate but perhaps he can go after his old congressional seat?

Daemonocracy on January 26, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Such a shame. Pence has good name recognition as a leader in the House, while Hostettler recently LOST his House seat, and would have to come from behind (per Rasmussen) to win a Senate seat.

Although, as Scott Brown showed, it IS possible to come from behind to win a Senate seat, and Hostettler has more time than Brown did.

Steve Z on January 26, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Too bad the comments from the headlines can’t be imported over when a headline becomes a blog post.

OmahaConservative on January 26, 2010 at 12:21 PM

C-n-P is your friend

thomasaur on January 26, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Hostettler is a horrible candidate. He doesn’t have good com. skills and he’s a terrible fundraiser. He was completely blown out in 2006 in his very conservative district.

Stutzmann is the better choice at this point.

Robert_Paulson on January 26, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Good. Concentrate on the House. Don’t blow it this time.

a capella on January 26, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Evan Bayh just won.

tetriskid on January 26, 2010 at 12:26 PM

No guts hey Pence?

thmcbb on January 26, 2010 at 12:28 PM

He should organize communities for a year to get the much-needed executive experience and run for President in 2012. A no-brainer.

/S

ROCnPhilly on January 26, 2010 at 12:28 PM

OmahaConservative on January 26, 2010 at 12:21 PM

They use to do that. But I think it takes away from the blog vs the headlines.

upinak on January 26, 2010 at 12:31 PM

Heartbreak or relief?

Both.

Rocks on January 26, 2010 at 12:31 PM

but the last President to win an election from the House was James Garfield (the only one to do it directly) 130 years ago

Everything is different these days.

There’s no reason to discount a person’s chances no matter where they come from in the political spectrum. People are looking for a no nonsense reality based leader with Conservative principles. A good one of those could have been dog-catcher for the past 20 years and get elected.

JonPrichard on January 26, 2010 at 12:33 PM

rockmom said that Pence would make a good next Speaker of the House in the headline.
She is spot-on.

OmahaConservative on January 26, 2010 at 12:33 PM

Pence on the ground?

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on January 26, 2010 at 12:34 PM

rockmom said that Pence would make a good next Speaker of the House in the headline.
She is spot-on.

OmahaConservative on January 26, 2010 at 12:33 PM

Pence is very clean and articulate.

WashJeff on January 26, 2010 at 12:34 PM

..at last! Strategy over self-aggrandizement!

VoyskaPVO on January 26, 2010 at 12:36 PM

Bummer.

Since others are throwing out the names of possible alternatives, I will suggest taking a look at Behney, from the Tea Party movement. It’s a long shot, but he’s got a better chance with Pence out.

cs89 on January 26, 2010 at 12:36 PM

Hostetler is right on most issues but comes off like a Paulnut whack job. He’s toast against Bayh.

BuzzCrutcher on January 26, 2010 at 12:37 PM

Evan Bayh just won.

tetriskid on January 26, 2010 at 12:26 PM

Not if Stutzman gets the support he deserves. Sorry to hear that Pence said no, but that doesn’t change the fact that Bayh is scum and must be skimmed off the Hoosier pond.

SKYFOX on January 26, 2010 at 12:37 PM

How’s the generic candidate doing against Bayh? I guess we’ll have to run with him.

Mark30339 on January 26, 2010 at 12:43 PM

Pence made a wise decision.

GarandFan on January 26, 2010 at 12:44 PM

Pence on the ground?

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on January 26, 2010 at 12:34 PM

Damn that’s a good comment

msmveritas on January 26, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Speaking as a Hoosier, I think this development is for the best. You can tie up the Senate from a minority position, but you need to be in the majority to get things done in the House. Pence would be a tremendous asset in the House leadership, and should be an important contributor to Republican efforts to re-take the House.

Bayh’s seat will remain in play. He is under tremendous pressure from Indiana voters, to the point that the DC office doesn’t answer the phone or take messages, and hasn’t since early last summer. Indiana is still a largely conservative and majority Republican state.

Stutzman is the better candidate in most respects, but Hostettler has better name recognition. A good campaigner could change that.

Daniels is very popular here in Indiana. I was sharply critical of some of his early moves, but he has either corrected the problem or been proven right in every case. Under his economic program, instituted before we were struck by the financial crisis and depression, the state is better off than most from the standpoint of government finances. And Daniels, after a rocky start with a software changeover, has actually made the BMV run efficiently. (Transaction time in BMV offices statewide is about 7 minutes!) Look for Daniels to emerge as a potential presidential candidate in 2012, or a possible VP pick.

novaculus on January 26, 2010 at 12:47 PM

Mark Stein talking about this right now.

SKYFOX on January 26, 2010 at 12:48 PM

I am disappointed that I won’t be able to vote for Pence (out of my district)….but as long as we can muster a strong opponent to beat Bayh, I won’t complain too much.

Bayh and Luger need to go.

search4truth on January 26, 2010 at 12:48 PM

*************** GOMARLIN **************

MikeA on January 26, 2010 at 12:50 PM

I like Mark Steyn, but really wish Rush were on.

OmahaConservative on January 26, 2010 at 12:50 PM

Evan Bayh just won.

tetriskid on January 26, 2010 at 12:26 PM

Not Even Close

MikeA on January 26, 2010 at 12:51 PM

novaculus on January 26, 2010 at 12:47 PM

I agree with you on Daniels. He’s money. I actually approved of his two “hot button” policy moves early on (time zone change and toll-road lease) and his acumen on running the state as a business has indeed been proven a wise strategy as opposed to our neighbors to the north (d’oh).

search4truth on January 26, 2010 at 12:51 PM

novaculus on January 26, 2010 at 12:47 PM

Just wanted to throw out an anecdote after reading your comment. I was at the BMV recently, and “took a number” and headed for a chair. Before I sat down, my number was called and I was out of there in less than 10 minutes.

After living in other states, I was floored.

Oh, and go any GOP candidate over Bayh!

cs89 on January 26, 2010 at 12:52 PM

Stein=Steyn
Thanks for the correction.

SKYFOX on January 26, 2010 at 12:55 PM

Well Marlin Stutzman was mentioned in the other thread on this and I have to say that he looks like an excellent candidate who the Tea Party and Club for Growth should get behind. I’m not sure what kind of campaigner he is though, I only read his site.

As for Hostettler, He’s too much of a protectionist and isolationist for me to be in the Senate but perhaps he can go after his old congressional seat?

Daemonocracy on January 26, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Thank you so much for reading about Marlin Stutzman. I appreciate you doing so.

I think it’s very important for people to understand Hostettler’s protectionist and isolationist views. Hostettler does have some name recognition here in Indiana, so we have to make sure people fully understand it.

Oink on January 26, 2010 at 12:56 PM

I am disappointed that I won’t be able to vote for Pence (out of my district)….but as long as we can muster a strong opponent to beat Bayh, I won’t complain too much.

Bayh and Luger need to go.

search4truth on January 26, 2010 at 12:48 PM

Luckily I do get to vote for Mike Pence. Please take a look at Marlin Stutzman to oppose Bayh. It can be done! Yes we can!

I agree with you 100000% about Bahn AND Lugar needing to go.

Oink on January 26, 2010 at 12:58 PM

No guts hey Pence?

thmcbb on January 26, 2010 at 12:28 PM

No, good strategy. I’m sure he could have beaten Bayh, but who would fill Pence’s seat? Unless there’s a good candidate to backfill there, there’s not much point for Pence to jump ship.

I sincerely hope that Pence has looked at Marlin Stutzman as someone to endorse and campaign with. THAT will help Marlin Stutzman!

Oink on January 26, 2010 at 1:03 PM

MikeA on January 26, 2010 at 12:50 PM

He is a good ‘un. Since nobody said it, I will add that, in the present wacko Demo tilt left, Evan Bayh is a moderate since he supported Secretary Clinton in her POTUS run.

IlikedAUH2O on January 26, 2010 at 1:11 PM

Both.

Rocks on January 26, 2010 at 12:31 PM

ditto

cmsinaz on January 26, 2010 at 1:15 PM

Maybe Pence thinks the odds of the GOP getting the House are fairly good, and he thinks it’d be more fun (and more opportunity to get good press) in House leadership than as a minority Senator.

JEM on January 26, 2010 at 1:19 PM

Hostettler is within 3 points of Bayh, he might run.

Terrye on January 26, 2010 at 1:25 PM

I’m not sure if they have term limits in Indiana or not.

Knucklehead on January 26, 2010 at 12:08 PM

Mitch’s second term ends in 2012. I am also not awre of term limits in IN …
WashJeff on January 26, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Daniels is term-limited until 2016.

Barnestormer on January 26, 2010 at 1:28 PM

He is a good ‘un. Since nobody said it, I will add that, in the present wacko Demo tilt left, Evan Bayh is a moderate since he supported Secretary Clinton in her POTUS run.

IlikedAUH2O on January 26, 2010 at 1:11 PM

Bayh made the only choice Hoosiers will remember him for on 12/24/09. That will be his entire legacy.

MikeA on January 26, 2010 at 1:30 PM

President Pence.

LtE126 on January 26, 2010 at 1:39 PM

Daniels is term-limited until 2016.

Barnestormer on January 26, 2010 at 1:28 PM

Thanks for the link.

OT: Another constitution that is explicit in its declaration of the right to bear arms.

Section 32. Arms–Right to bear
The people shall have a right to bear arms, for the defense of themselves and the State.

Boolstering my case that the federal constitution only applies to federal governing bodies and not the states, unless explicitly written into the federal constitution. Incorporation was a HORRIBLE SCOTUS decision.

WashJeff on January 26, 2010 at 1:45 PM

Terrye on January 26, 2010 at 1:25 PM

He already announced.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1209/30176.html

However, he lost big-time in his last election. Concerning, IMO.

I think the announced candidates right now are Bayh, and GOPers Stutzman, Hostettler, Behney and Bates.

cs89 on January 26, 2010 at 1:47 PM

NO WAY Pence makes it to the White House…..it’s just he’s just plain Dullsville baby……….

…..DULLSVILLE

PappyD61 on January 26, 2010 at 2:03 PM

there’s another GOP candidate for Senator in Indiana, Richard Behney. He was T.H.E. guy behind the early TEA party protests in Indiana last April and was in the fore front of the Indiana contingent in the 9-12 march in D.C.

Onager on January 26, 2010 at 2:16 PM

Sorry to hear that Mike decided to stay in the House. I understand his reasoning, but he would be in a position in the Senate to fix those loosers. So far we have Jim DeMint as the constaant. He needs help. Hopefully he will get some soon.
Mike chose the path that for him could accomplish the most good. Bayh and Lugar both need to go. Maybe this will bring out more Republicans that believe in smaller government, free markets, and lower taxes to run for office.

BetseyRoss on January 26, 2010 at 2:22 PM

Hostettler is within 3 points of Bayh, he might run.

Hostettler already announced he is running. Great candidate.

http://www.johnhostettler.com/

Conservative in NOVA on January 26, 2010 at 3:19 PM

cs89 on January 26, 2010 at 12:36 PM

Richard Behney is a very good candidate. I truly hope he can garner enough support to make a good run in the primary. I am not against Stutzman or Hostettler for that matter. Finally Bayh has some competition.

Short list for VP to O, yes on confirmation of Sunstein, yes to HC and then virtually disappears since then (until last week after Brown wins – and now he’s all moderate again!!) Doesn’t respond to emails or letters, no one answers the phones & voice mail full – Bayh has got to go.

ladyhawke53 on January 26, 2010 at 7:29 PM