Former Indiana governor and IU alumnus Evan Bayh announced Wednesday he intends to run for the Senate, according to an Associated Press release.
Bayh, who left his former Indiana Senate seat six years ago, said in a statement he didn’t feel as though he could ignore the evident problems plaguing the nation’s capital during this election season.
“I can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch as partisan bickering grinds Washington to a halt,” he said. “Hoosier families deserve more and I’ve decided to run to take their cause to the U.S. Senate.”
Democratic Hoosiers are hopeful about Bayh’s decision because his experience and reputation could boost the party’s shot at replacing Republican Sen. Dan Coats’ seat in the fall, according to the release.
Bayh’s announcement comes on the heels of U.S. Rep. Baron Hill’s D-9th District, decision to withdraw as the Democratic nominee for the Senate seat. Bayh had already retired in 2010 after serving two Senate terms.
The Senate race has now become one of many competitive races around the country, the release states, because Bayh has a considerable edge against Young, who, after Hill’s decision to step down, was the presumptive race winner.
According to recent federal reports, Bayh has around $9.3 million in his campaign budget, while Young had $1.2 million June 30.
“All the sudden Todd Young has gone from being the favorite to being the underdog,” former Fort Wayne mayor and IU professor Paul Helmke said in the release. “All the sudden, rather than being in a position where they have a money advantage, they have a disadvantage.”
Republicans are now, the release explains, being forced to spend money in a state they hadn’t previously planned to.
Chair of the Indiana Republican Party Jeff Cardwell said in a statement Wednesday that Bayh wasn’t ideal.
“The Indiana Democrats are so desperate to put together a ‘winning’ ticket for November that they placed another re-tread, out-of-touch lobbyist on the ballot,” he said. “Evan Bayh is not the solution to the troubles and out of control problems in Washington, D.C. He states that the reason for joining the race is that the political process is too partisan — let’s not forget that that is the same reason he gave for leaving the Senate in 2010.”
John Zody, the chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party, focused less on Bayh and more on Hill’s resignation from the ballot, noting Hill’s “courage” in putting the Indiana public in front 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,” Zody said in his statement. “Indiana Democrats looks forward to having a commonsense leader who will work with Sen. Joe Donnelly.”