INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh is launching a bid to again represent Indiana in the U.S. Senate.
Bayh announced Wednesday that he would seek to make the political comeback. Two days earlier, former U.S. Rep. Baron Hill cleared the way by withdrawing as the Democratic nominee.
Bayh complained of the partisanship and gridlock when he left the Senate in 2010, but says he “can no longer sit on the sidelines.”
Bayh’s return boosts the chances of Democrats to win the seat held by Republican Sen. Dan Coats, who is retiring. In a statement Wednesday morning, Indiana Democratic Party chairman John Zody called Bayh a “commonsense leader” who could pair nicely – for Democrats, at least – with Sen. Joe Donnelly.
“This week, Baron Hill showed courage by putting Hoosiers ahead of his own political future. He and everyone else knows how high the stakes are in this election and the importance of protecting and fighting for the middle class in the U.S. Senate. Indiana Democrats look forward to having a commonsense leader who will work with Sen. Joe Donnelly, and as our meeting to fill the vacancy approaches, I look forward to discussing Senator Bayh’s candidacy with the State Central Committee.”
National Democrats pushed for Bayh to enter the race, seeing him as having a better chance to defeat GOP candidate U.S. Rep. Todd Young as Democrats seek to gain the four or five seats they need to win Senate control.
Just more than an hour after Bayh declared his candidacy, Young issued a statement in which he called Bayh a Washington lobbyist.
“Most Hoosiers I talk with think the system in Washington is rigged against them,” said Young. “They think Washington lobbyists like Evan Bayh are part of the problem. I agree. Evan Bayh wouldn’t defend Hoosiers from Obamacare when he was in the Senate, but as a lobbyist he defended corporations who paid him to oppose it.
Young added: “This Senate seat does not belong to the Bayh family for whenever it’s convenient. It belongs to the people of Indiana and Hoosiers expect a Senator to share their values and their experiences, and to represent their interests. I’m a Hoosier and a Marine, and I’m running to represent Hoosier values every day.”
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