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Outsider Democrat Fails to Qualify for Ballot in Indiana Senate Race

It was a Cinderella story that lasted barely a day. Tamyra D'Ippolito, an outsider Democratic candidate for senator from Indiana, seemed early Tuesday to be the party's nominee by default after incumbent Evan Bayh announced Monday he wouldn't run for re-election.

Don't count on it. She barely mustered a hundred signatures.

She was a virtual unknown when she emerged as the only Democrat with a shot of getting on the ballot by the noon deadline, worrying party leaders in Indiana and Washington who feared she would lose the seat in the general election to a more experienced Republican candidate like former Sen. Dan Coats.

But as of 3 p.m. Tuesday, state officials had tallied only 112 signatures for D'Ippolito, far short of the 4,500 needed -- 500 in each of the state's nine congressional districts -- to make it onto the ballot for the state's May primary.

Without her on the ballot, the state party is free to select another candidate through a separate nominating process. 

D'Ippolito, in the 24 hours after Bayh announced his retirement, became somewhat of a shooting star in the media. Her little-noticed campaign against Bayh rocketed to the forefront since the timing of Bayh's announcement gave her an ultra-narrow window to shock the party establishment by qualifying to run. 

Before that campaign fizzled, several right-leaning blogs and Republican-supporting organizations were frantically offering any help they could to D'Ippolito and encouraging voters to sign her petition to make sure she got on the ballot. 

D'Ippolito, a cafe owner from southern Indiana, sounded optimistic Tuesday morning. 

"We're gonna have the signatures," D'Ippolito told Fox News. "We're going to have them and we will be running." 

Now that she's presumably out of the picture, the state party may have a chance to pick a more experienced candidate. Reps. Brad Ellsworth and Baron Hill are among the possible contenders for the seat. 

Bayh announced Monday that he was leaving the Senate after two terms because he had grown weary of the heightened partisanship on Capitol Hill.