Bayh’s Goodbye Leaves Indiana Democrats Feeling Left in the Lurch

Indiana democratic U.S. Senator Evan Bayh may be bowing out of the 2010 re-election race out of disgust with Washington, but after spending most of his life in it, one wonders why now?

He may be trading up from Senate for a White House run, but it’s not like he’d talk about it on the same day he bails on his current job. Perhaps he wants to again be Indiana Governor, despite having twice been there and done that already BUT no matter what, Tamyra D’Ippolito is surely delighted to see him go.

If you have never heard of her, you are not alone. She is a café owner in Bloomington, has never run for a big stakes political office before and few took notice when she started running against the popular incumbent Evan Bayh.

Democrats naturally assumed D’Ippolito would A) never get on the ballot or B) get summarily crushed under the Bayh political machine.

Oh how wrong that might be. So far the café owner has 3,500 of the 4,500 signatures needed for ballot placement (the law requires at least 500 from each of Indiana’s 9 congressional districts.)

The deadline is tomorrow at noon. If D’Ippolito gets another thousand signatures she is on the ballot alone.

That terrifies democrats across Indiana, and in Washington, who fear that she’ll lose the seat to the more experienced republican candidate Dan Coats, who held the seat before Bayh won it twelve years ago.

Several other more experienced Indiana democrats are considering a run of their own for the seat Bayh is vacating but if D’Ippolito gets on the ballot they would have to do so as write-in candidates. They include Brad Ellsworth of the so-called Bloody Eighth Congressional District, which has been changing hands between parties for years along Indiana’s southeastern borders with Illinois and Kentucky. Another serious contender is 5 term congressman Baron Hill of Indiana’s 9th Congressional District..a veteran of tough battles..but never a write-in.

All this creates an irresistible opportunity for the GOP grassroots in the historically republican leaning Hoosier state.

Several right leaning blogs and pro-republican organizations are now frantically offering any help they can to D’ippolito and encouraging voters to sign her petition to make sure she gets on the ballot.

Bayh today complained that there is too much partisanship in the nation’s Capitol and that Washington might learn and benefit from the kinds of bipartisan cooperation he often sees in his home state..somehow one doubts he had GOP help for Tamyra D’Ippolito in mind.