Bayh gets top-tier challenger after all

Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana dodged a bullet recently when Representative Mike Pence decided against challenging him, but today former U.S. Senator Dan Coats, who retired in 1998, will announce plans to run for this seat. Chris Cillizza handicaps the race:

While Coats give Republicans a very credible challenger to Bayh, the Democratic Senator is no slouch. Bayh's obvious strength is his financial prowess as he ended 2009 with $13 million in the bank and his sterling electoral record that includes two terms as governor and two terms in the Senate.

Bayh's biggest potential weakness is the fact that he hasn't run a truly competitive race in decades and may not have the fire in the belly to do so now given that he weighed retirement earlier in this cycle.

Coats will also have to answer a few basic questions. He does not currently live in the state (GOP sources say he and his wife had long planned to move back), is a federally registered lobbyist and, for someone who left office expressing a disdain for fundraising, will have to do lots of it to get competitive with Bayh.

Cillizza doesn't mention a few other problems for Coats, like how he minimized the threat from Al-Qaeda. When President Bill Clinton ordered air strikes in Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998, Coats said, "The president has been consumed with matters regarding his personal life. It raises questions about whether or not he had the time to devote to this issue, or give the kind of judgment that needed to be given to this issue to call for military action."

Jonathan Singer also noted on his Twitter feed that Coats was in charge of getting the unqualified Harriet Miers confirmed for the U.S. Supreme Court. That effort didn't go well, and President George W. Bush ended up withdrawing Miers' nomination (which is how we got Samuel Alito).

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(which is how we got Samuel Alito).


The other important in getting Alito was the threat to invoke the nuclear option on judicial filibusters.

by Bob H 2010-02-03 11:00AM | 0 recs
Bayh's Reelection

Half of me wants to see Bayh go down as a cautionary tale to Democrats who continually undermine the Party publicly. Bayh's appearance on FOX a few days ago berating the Party for going too far left was a bit too much. The MSM loves this narrative & it reinforces notions of why not to vote Democratic. I realize Indiana is a pretty conservative state & Bayh can't be an out & out liberal. But systematically undermining the Party's positions requires keeping the blue dogs in check.

by carter1 2010-02-03 11:17AM | 0 recs

It will be funny to watch Bayh attack this guy for his lobbying activities.  The horror!

by Steve M 2010-02-03 11:24AM | 0 recs
RE: Heh

You guys are counting the chickens before they are hatched. The tea-partiers will back John Hostettler making issue of Coat's support for the ideologically impure Harriet Myers, and Hostettler will make a successful case of Bayh not really being a Hoosier! But, do look out for Rasmussen to put Coats ten points ahead of Bayh and for the Cook Report to make this race a toss-up at least until the primaries!

by Boilermaker 2010-02-03 11:46AM | 0 recs
RE: Heh

If you think I am counting chickens, you missed the point of my comment.

by Steve M 2010-02-03 01:38PM | 0 recs
Senator Bayh will be just fine.

At this point, Dan Coats is just a tired old man with a bad comb-over. I don't think the Indiana GOP is in a strong position, when the "top-tier challenger" is the same guy who gave up this seat 12 years ago.


by BJJ Fighter 2010-02-04 09:34AM | 0 recs


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