Bayh not running for governor in Indiana

posted at 11:36 am on December 13, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

When Evan Bayh decided not to seek re-election this year almost at the last minute, speculation held that the two-term Senator and former Governor had grown tired of life as a legislator and wanted to go back to executive office.  Mitch Daniels can’t seek a third term in Indiana, and the timing seemed perfect for either a 2012 run at Bayh’s old office or a national run at a higher executive office against an incumbent of his own party.  Over the weekend, Bayh ruled out the former:

Indiana Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh has decided against a run for governor in 2012, robbing Democrats of their top recruit in the Hoosier State.

“After careful consideration, I have concluded that the appropriate decision is not to be a candidate for governor of Indiana in 2012,” Bayh said in a statement released to the Fix. “”The principle reason for my decision is the welfare of my twin sons.” …

Bayh, who will turn 55 on the day after Christmas, will leave the Senate at the end of the year after two terms defined, in large part, by his never-realized ambitions on the national stage.

Bayh was a finalist in the vice presidential sweepstakes in 2004 and 2008 but was passed over both times. He weighed a run for president in his own right in the 2008 cycle but backed away in December of 2006.

Bayh’s retirement from the Senate in February shocked even the most seasoned political observers and turned his seat from an open certain Democratic hold into a major Republican target.

The “certain Democratic hold” seems a little presumptuous.  Had Bayh run for re-election, Mike Pence might have been more tempted to aim for the seat to capture it for the GOP.   The easy election of former Senator Dan Coats into his former position indicates that Bayh might not have had an easy ride, and that perhaps he was better served by a principled withdrawal than an Election Day defeat in a Tea Party wave.

At any rate, at 55, Bayh doesn’t seem ready to head into retirement, especially not the way he left Washington DC.  He grew tired of his party’s tilt towards the hard Left and complained about the ongoing partisanship that brought the legislative process to a standstill, which sounded at the time like the launch of a national campaign of some sort.  He could wait four more years to follow up on that start, but the natural process and immediacy of politics would make him an afterthought by 2016.  And I doubt Bayh would be running for mayor, or suddenly desire to join the private sector after spending almost his entire adult life in public service.

Bayh could make a case for a primary challenge against Obama.  The momentum right now for that appears to be mainly among progressives, but they lack a credible candidate.  Bayh, on the other hand, could run on the basis of successful and competent executive experience, as well as the status of a Midwestern, Rust Belt Democrat who might win back the constituencies Obama obviously lost in the midterms.  Democrats passed him over in the last two national cycles for lightweights like John Kerry, John Edwards, and Barack Obama, and those choices have come home to roost in an electorate clearly alienated from Democratic leadership.

If Bayh does run, he could force Obama back into the arms of progressives, which would result in a loss either in the primaries (a long shot) or in the general election.  If that happened, Bayh’s primary run would put him in position to claim the nomination in a 2016 race, while his absence for four years would guarantee him little more than an occasional spot on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Does this take Pence out of presidential run?

publiuspen on December 13, 2010 at 11:44 AM

If Bayh does run, he could force Obama back into the arms of progressives, which would result in a loss either in the primaries (a long shot) or in the general election. If that happened, Bayh’s primary run would put him in position to claim the nomination in a 2016 race, while his absence for four years would guarantee him little more than an occasional spot on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

The problem with Bayh regardless of whether he runs in 2012 or 2016 is that he’d campaign as a centrist Democrat which would alienate the base that’s almost entirely comprised of left-wing lunatics at this point. And conservatives and most independents would be turned off by the Porkulus and Obamacare votes as Senator. Who would he appeal to at this point?

Doughboy on December 13, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Anti-paling repubs might would vote for him

jp on December 13, 2010 at 11:44 AM

http://www.indecisionforever.com/2008/08/22/barack-obamaevan-bayh-bumper-stickers/

Maybe this, but with a 12.

Greek Fire on December 13, 2010 at 11:47 AM

Wouldn’t a Palin/Bayh ’12 Ticket be interesting?

Conservative Base + Moderate Democrats = Electoral Victory?

Unity Ticket?

portlandon on December 13, 2010 at 11:49 AM

Bayh may try a run for it, but I will be surprised if he actually challenge Obama and even more surprised if he won the primary.

Additionally, from my perch in the cheap seats this looks like a huge “open door” for Pence, if he wants to run for Gov. without a strong Dem opponent at this point. I think he would be 57 in 2016, and 61 in 2020 (still young enough for POTUS run) and could get there more easily from a governorship than a Congressional seat.

We’ll see.

cs89 on December 13, 2010 at 11:49 AM

portlandon on December 13, 2010 at 11:49 AM

IMO, Palin’s no McCain (considered Lieberman, by several accounts).

cs89 on December 13, 2010 at 11:50 AM

Unity Ticket?

portlandon on December 13, 2010 at 11:49 AM

Not likely, but he would make sense as a Dem VP candidate, setting him up in 16, win or lose in 12. The end-game of Sir Bows-a-lot’s triangulation strategy for reelection.

The sad thing is, Biden thinks he has next. That such a gaffe-prone accomplished-nothing from a tiny blue state thinks he could be president is ridiculous.

Greek Fire on December 13, 2010 at 11:54 AM

IMO, Palin’s no McCain (considered Lieberman, by several accounts).

cs89 on December 13, 2010 at 11:50 AM

I actually wouldn’t be shocked if she thought of going with an unorthodox running mate should she be the GOP nominee. But what prominent Dem could she possibly pick given that the Blue Dogs are going the way of the dodo? Bayh is a non-starter. Dude voted for Porkulus and Obamacare.

Doughboy on December 13, 2010 at 11:58 AM

Been there, done that. No reason to do it again.

Who would vote for Bayh? I would, if he was running against Dick Lugar. At least we know where Bayh is coming from, while that despicable old fraud Lugar votes conservative when it doesn’t matter, but time after time breaks ranks and votes with the Demos on the big stuff. But Bayh won’t be doing that either.

Bayh is just keeping his options open. If Republicans disappoint in the next two years, if Obama’s popularity continues to wane, if the Republican front-runner is “too” conservative (i.e., Sarah Palin), he hopes to step up as the voice of reason in the center. Not a bad strategy, actually.

novaculus on December 13, 2010 at 12:06 PM

The democrat party’s wheels are coming off, and it can easily shatter into multiple new parties.

Bayh could split off a very sizable chunk of the “traditional” democrat constituency into a new-old 3rd party, to challenge the disastrous leadership of the hard left progressives.

Rebar on December 13, 2010 at 12:08 PM

Bayh could never, ever win the nomination in the radical Leftist Democrat party. The DemComms are all-in now. It’s full-on Socialism, or bust.

IronDioPriest on December 13, 2010 at 12:10 PM

BREAKING: FEDERAL JUDGE RULES INDIVIDUAL MANDATE UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

amerpundit on December 13, 2010 at 12:12 PM

Breaking from FOX News on TV: VA judge has declared health care mandate unconstitutional.

INC on December 13, 2010 at 12:13 PM

No Labels ticket!!

KeepOhioRed on December 13, 2010 at 12:26 PM

Good luck against POTUS… Seriously… GOOD LUCK!!

Khun Joe on December 13, 2010 at 12:26 PM

Obama will not face a primary opponent. Anyone who could potentially beat Obama, would lose so much black support that he/she would have no chance in the general election.

For the next 12-16 months there will be non-stop speculation about a primary opponent every time a Democrat bats his/her eyes. But folks, it ain’t happenin’

angryed on December 13, 2010 at 12:35 PM

The libs are burning down their own house right now and that means any ‘rat with so much as an ounce of rationality won’t even be allowed in the convention hall. Work on your memoirs, Bayh, your party is heading off the cliff.

Bishop on December 13, 2010 at 12:37 PM

Does this take Pence out of presidential run?

publiuspen on December 13, 2010 at 11:44 AM

The lt. gov wants to run for gov. According to Jennifer Rubin, Pence is more likely to run for pres, which makes sense considering his media outreach. I hope Pence does run for pres otherwise there’s no electable conservative running.

TimTebowSavesAmerica on December 13, 2010 at 12:40 PM

“After careful consideration, I have concluded that the appropriate decision is not to be a candidate for governor of Indiana in 2012,” Bayh said in a statement released to the Fix. “”The principle reason for my decision is the welfare of my twin sons I’D LOSE.”

Branch Rickey on December 13, 2010 at 12:51 PM

Obama offering VP (or cabinet) slot to Bayh to keep Pence out of the presidential race (where he’d have Palin’s backing) ?

gh on December 13, 2010 at 12:53 PM

How many presidential candidates can Indiana have?

If Bayh, Pence and Daniels all ran for president,they would have one right of center candidate, one left of Center Candidate and one centrist. So the answer is enough for everyone.

KW64 on December 13, 2010 at 12:57 PM

Doughboy on December 13, 2010 at 11:58 AM

While she has a pre-McCain pick history of seeking to work in a bipartisan manner, I think her history of appointments as Gov. and her midterm endorsement picks (“the most conservative candidates that can win”) make any “moderate Dem” VP pick by Palin, should she be the nominee, highly unlikely.

cs89 on December 13, 2010 at 1:31 PM

Trying to primary Obama in ’12 will get anyone not black tarred, feathered and lynched as a raaaaaaaaaaaaacist! His only hope is that The Won grows bored of the job, and voluntarily does not seek a second term.

Even then, a white nominee will have to work really, really hard to get out the black vote, as I’m sure there will be certain amount of The Won was forced out for a honky thinking.

I R A Darth Aggie on December 13, 2010 at 1:56 PM

Politico trying to kill off primary talk, and looks like Howie counts himself out: Would any Democrat really challenge Barack Obama?

I say it all depends on Bammie’s numbers. If he looks certain to lose to any credible Republican challenger, the democratics may decide it’s better to hold a real primary and maybe lose than to certainly lose.

Whether someone else could win ‘without the black vote’, that depends on the Bamster. If he loses graciously and endorses the winner, the democratics can unite around the new leader. Some enthusiasm may be lost if the winner is not black, but only with black voters that only voted because Bammie qualifies as black.

slickwillie2001 on December 13, 2010 at 3:06 PM

He grew tired of his party’s tilt towards the hard Left

His 2008 ACU rating was 20.7. Ain’t much to his left except the hard left…

Akzed on December 13, 2010 at 3:19 PM