Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bayh Decision A Blow To Indiana Democrats

The Star's Mary Beth Schneider reports on Evan Bayh's decision not to seek the governor's office in 2012. Many Democrats had felt certain he was going to return to Indiana and run for governor after he belatedly decided against seeking re-election to the Senate this year.

“It was a very hard decision,” said Bayh, who served two terms as the state’s top executive from 1989 to 1997. “A big part of me wants to.”

But, he told The Indianapolis Star (read Bayh's statement), he decided that not disrupting his twin sons’ lives, now that they are freshmen in high school, took precedence over political ambition.

Bayh’s decision ends, at least for now, an era in Indiana politics. The son of former U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh, he burst onto the political scene in 1986 when at age 30 he won election as secretary of state before sweeping to victory as governor two years later.

Democrats had hoped he’d resurrect them in 2012, as he did in the 1980s, by running for governor. And, while Bayh had turned his back on a third term in the Senate earlier this year, saying he did “not love Congress,” Democrats were optimistic that a chance to return to a job he had clearly relished would prove irresistible.

“If all I cared about is politics I’d run for governor because I loved being governor, and the prospects were probably favorable” that he’d be elected, Bayh said.

But, he added, “I want my kids to know that they were their parents’ top priority, and more important than ambition. I’ve been privileged to be elected five times. You only have your kids once.”

He said he doesn’t know yet what his next chapter will bring when he ceases to be an elected official Jan. 5, when the man who replaces him, Republican Dan Coats, is sworn in to office.

“I love public policy. I love working for the people of Indiana, but there are a lot of ways to contribute to society besides running for public office, thank goodness,” Bayh said. “The short answer is I haven’t made any final decisions — and I don’t intend to until Congress is done — but probably a variety of things.”
With Bayh out of the running, there is a likelihood more candidates on both sides will have an interest in running for governor. Mike Pence seems to be the most likely Republican nominee. I just don't see him running for president despite the speculation on that front. Although Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman wants to run for the office, she simply isn't taken seriously as a potential gubernatorial candidate by many people within her own party. I initially thought Ellsworth might be inclined to run against Lugar for the Senate in 2012 if Bayh ran for governor, particularly if looked like Lugar would face a primary challenge, but he might take a look at the governor's race instead with Bayh bowing out. It appears Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel is interested in running for governor, but mayors bring a lot of baggage with them when they attempt to run for higher office.


Concerned Taxpayer said...

There is more to this story. I wonder when we will find out the truth.

Ellen said...

I agree with CT.

Maybe Bayh just wants to take the Coats route?

Jon said...

He probably going to be a lobbyist, with the Bayh family it is all about the money.

Ellen said...

Umm, yeah, Jon.

Lobbying IS the Coats route!