Video: Coats to retire in 2016

posted at 8:01 pm on March 24, 2015 by Ed Morrissey

Senator Dan Coats, who came out of retirement to take back Indiana’s Senate seat from Democrats in 2010, has decided to hang it up after one term in his comeback. Citing his age and his desire to spend time with his family, Coats announced his retirement in a homemade video — one that opted out of the laughable artifice of Barbara Boxer’s announcement:

“Today I am announcing that I will not seek re-election to the United States Senate,” Coats said in a statement. “This was not an easy decision. While I believe I am well-positioned to run a successful campaign for another six-year term, I have concluded that the time has come to pass this demanding job to the next generation of leaders.”

WRTV, the local ABC affiliate in Indianapolis, broke the news earlier today:

What happens now? Coats’ decision may have surprised some, but his reference to a solid Republican bench is hardly unwarranted. The GOP will have a number of options, including one of Coats’ closest aides, Eric Holcomb:

Coats’s decision to retire may set off a Republican scramble for the open seat. While the GOP would seem to have the early edge, it is now another state they must defend in a presidential year where they’re almost entirely playing defense to protect their new Senate majority.

Potential Republican candidates include Reps. Todd Young and Susan Brooks, both of whom have long been viewed as having statewide ambitions, as well as Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and Reps. Todd Rokita, Jackie Walorski and Marlin Stutzman. …

“Eric has taken a leave of absence from Senator Coats’ office as he considers a run for the open U.S. Senate seat in 2016. He’s grateful for the immediate outpouring of support from every corner of Indiana and will make a decision soon,” Pete Seat, a spokesperson for Eric Holcomb, said in a statement.

It’s still a Republican seat to lose, but one person might have the resources to flip the seat back to the Democratic Party. And that may be the man who retired and gave Coats his opening in 2010:

And the competitiveness of that race relies in large part on one number: $9.9 million.

That’s the ungodly sum of money that retired Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) has just sitting in his campaign account. Bayh succeeded Coats when Coats retired in 1998, and Bayh returned the favor by retiring and making way for Coats in 2010. In both cases, there was a sense that the retirements weren’t entirely voluntary, but rather were about the difficulty of the campaign ahead. (Bayh was a popular recent former governor in 1998; by 2010, he had to answer for his vote on things like Obamacare in an increasingly red state and a bad year.)

Bayh has certainly left his options open. While he has said he won’t run for governor in 2016, he hasn’t ruled out a return to politics. And that $9.9 million war chest is so big that most incumbent senators would be overjoyed to have it. Combine it with Bayh’s moderate reputation, and it’s little secret how happy the Democratic establishment would be to have him in the race.

The question is whether Bayh kept that money in the bank for just such an occasion. The former senator and governor, after all, is a relatively young 59. And while he has been talked up as a potential presidential candidate or VP pick in the past, that ship has largely sailed, it would seem. So the money largely has one place to go: Another run for Senate.

Or perhaps a run at the Presidency now, with Hillary Clinton under fire from the media, and under pressure from progressives to go further Left. A Bayh run could keep Hillary tracking back toward the center in the primary. But yes, if Bayh sits out the presidential sweepstakes, then Democrats will put considerable pressure on him to use the money on his own comeback to the US Senate. That would still force Bayh to explain his ObamaCare vote, among others that propped up an increasingly unpopular Barack Obama, but $9 million buys a lot of time for explanations and evasions.

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As long as Mourdock stays out of the race, this is conservatives‘ to lose, not just Republicans. Indiana has a great many strong conservative House GOPers, almost all of whom would be an improvement over Coats (which is not to say that Coats was all that bad).

KingGold on March 24, 2015 at 8:13 PM

Potential Republican candidates include Reps. Todd Young and Susan Brooks, both of whom have long been viewed as having statewide ambitions

Both Boehner puppets.

chris0christies0donut on March 24, 2015 at 8:14 PM


Looks like Margaret Thatcher was right. Greece is running out of other peoples’ money.

BobMbx on March 24, 2015 at 8:17 PM

New young blood.

rbj on March 24, 2015 at 8:18 PM

Good riddance to another RINO and gun control supporting career Washington parasite.

celt on March 24, 2015 at 8:27 PM

On multiple occasions, Coats has supported gun control measures. In 1991, he voted in favor of the Biden-Thurmond Violent Crime Control Act of 1991. This act, which did not become law, would have created a waiting period for handgun purchases and placed a ban on semi-automatic firearms.

…Coats also supported Feinstein Amendment 1152 to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1993.[5] The purpose of the Feinstein Amendment was to “restrict the manufacture, transfer, and possession of certain semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity ammunition feeding devices”.[6]

…Coats cosponsored, with former Senators Edward M. Kennedy, Christopher Dodd, and James Jeffords, S.2206: Coats Human Services Reauthorization Act of 1998. This bill, which was enacted into law, “amended the Head Start Act, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Act of 1981, and the Community Services Block Grant Act…in order to provide an opportunity for persons with limited means to accumulate assets.”[10]

…In 1996, Coats cosponsored the Line Item Veto Act of 1996 which President Clinton signed into law. The bill allowed the President to “rewrit[e] legislation by vetoing single items of spending or specific tax breaks approved by Congress.”[11] The Supreme Court of the United States declared the law unconstitutional in Clinton v. City of New York in a 6-3 decision.

celt on March 24, 2015 at 8:42 PM

Like I said – good riddance!..see above.

celt on March 24, 2015 at 8:44 PM

Evan Bayh voted for Obamacare then decided not to seek re-election. He doesn’t deserve to be their Senator again.

lonestar1 on March 24, 2015 at 9:33 PM

it is now another state they must defend in a presidential year where they’re almost entirely playing defense to protect their new Senate majority.

and a majority they will be certain to lose if they put up a stupid progressive idiot as a presidential nominee, like jebbyclown boosh.

If that happens I’ll be sitting back, laughing, watching it slowly start to burn.

Andy__B on March 24, 2015 at 10:25 PM

Evan Bayh Obama. That is his name, Indiana residents.

22044 on March 24, 2015 at 10:48 PM

Indiana still seems to make some stupid decisions for being such a supposedly red state– they voted for Obama in 2008, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Bayh won handily if he chooses to run, which would give them 2 Dem senators, an absolute embarrassment

With the backlash from all the dumb social issue legislation Pence is pushing, i wouldn’t be surprised to see Hoosiers embrace Bayh and the state go for Hillary in 2016, as pathetic as it is to consider

thurman on March 24, 2015 at 10:50 PM

As a resident of indiana, I can say, Coats retired along time ago…..

elvis lives on March 24, 2015 at 10:53 PM

As a taxpaying citizen of indiana….i want to tell anyone affiliated with sen. Coats that might be reading this = Good riddance, you worthless carpetbagger……

elvis lives on March 24, 2015 at 10:57 PM

Coats is a RINO tool.

Bayh chose not to run not only because he faced a tough election, he was popular here in Indiana. I think he understood very well the Obama presidency would be a series of flaming train wrecks. He wanted nothing to do with it.

I’ve said before I’ve thought all along he intended to fill the role of moderate Democrat alternative after Obama’s looney Leftism wore out it’s welcome. But he’ll wait until Hillary implodes and then his peeps will start a “Draft Bayh” whispering campaign.

novaculus on March 25, 2015 at 1:26 AM