Indiana News

Republicans Eyeing Run at Bayh's Senate Seat

9/23/2009

Most analysts rate Evan Bayh's Senate seat among the safest in next year's elections. But Republicans are lining up to take a shot at him.

Bayh has never lost an election, and hasn't gotten less than 62 percent of the vote since his first run for governor in 1988.

But Richmond banker Don Bates Junior contends Bayh's opposition to some Obama Administration proposals won't be enough to stop a wave of "buyer's remorse" at Obama's upset victory in Indiana last year.

Former Schererville Representative Dan Dumezich isn't announcing his plans for a couple more weeks, but has been holding town meetings across the state, including one in Fishers on Wednesday night. He accuses Bayh of opportunism, shifting toward the center only when there's an election coming up.

Howe State Senator Marlin Stutzman and Carmel "Tea Party" organizer Richard Behney want the nomination too. Stutzman holds a campaign kickoff in Kendallville on Saturday.

And Dumezich says he beileves news stories about the corporate board work of Bayh's wife Susan has prompted voters to take a closer look at Bayh's record. Susan Bayh has served on as many as eight corporate boards, including WIBC parent company Emmis Communications. Her service on the board of Indianapolis health insurance giant WellPoint has prompted some activists on both sides of the aisle to question whether Sen. Bayh has a conflict of interest in the health care debate.

Dumezich blasts what he calls proposals for a government takeover of health care, but all the candidates frame their opposition to Bayh in terms of broad disagreement with Obama's philosophy, accusing him of bloating federal spending in the name of making government bigger.

All four candidates won't necessarily make it to the starting line. Unlike most offices in Indiana, state law requires U.S. Senate candidates to gather petition signatures in each of Indiana's nine congressional districts -- approximately 4,500 in all.
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