Evan Bayh Seeking To Return To The Senate

Evan Bayh is reportedly ready to enter the race to reclaim his old seat in the Senate:

WASHINGTON — Former Senator Evan Bayh, Democrat of Indiana, is expected to announce that he will run to reclaim the job he gave up in 2010, a move that could strengthen the Democrats’ prospects of winning majority control of the Senate in November.

Mr. Bayh, 60, served two terms as governor of Indiana, from 1989 to 1997, and two terms as senator, from 1999 to 2011. His father, Birch Bayh, served for more than 25 years as a senator and House member, and ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for president in 1976.

Evan Bayh’s name recognition is expected to give him a strong advantage in the race for his old Senate seat, which is being vacated by Dan Coats, a Republican. He would face Representative Todd Young, 43, a Republican serving his third term in the House.

Mr. Bayh has not officially announced his candidacy, but on Monday, former Representative Baron Hill, who was unopposed in the Democratic primary in May, abruptly dropped out of the race, saying that he wanted to make way for “a strong nominee who has the money, name identification and resources to win.”

In Indiana, Mr. Bayh is effectively the only Democrat who fits that profile. He has a war chest of more than $9.2 million left over from his previous campaigns, according to Federal Election Commission data.

But in a year when political insiders have struggled, Mr. Bayh would also bring some baggage. Since leaving the Senate, he has been a partner at McGuireWoods, a Washington law firm that, through a subsidiary, also provides lobbying and advocacy services.

Mr. Bayh has served as a “strategic adviser” to many of the firm’s top clients, according to the company’s website. Republicans immediately branded him a lobbyist and noted his ties to Wall Street, where he also advises a private equity firm, Apollo Global Management.

Because Mr. Hill was already certified as the Democratic candidate, he filed formal paperwork to withdraw from the race and notified the Indiana Democratic Party, which must now choose a candidate to replace him.

Bayh had retired from the Senate in 2010, Sen. Dan Coats, who had held the seat since 1998 when he ran for it after Coats had decided to retire, managed to win the election easily. Now, Bayh is seeking to do what Coats did after Coats himself decided he would only serve one term. While there has not been any real polling with Bayh in the race as the Democratic nominee, the anticipation is that he will make the race far more competitive, thus increasing the pressures on a national GOP already looking at a tough fight to hold on to the majority it won in 2014.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Neil Hudelson says:

    If anything, his run bleeds scarce resources from a over-committed NRSC.

  2. Andre Kenji says:

    Evan Bayh decided to retire when he saw that he would face a competitive race. He is not the kind of guy that runs if he won´t win.

  3. Mister Bluster says:

    …Sen. Dan Coats, who had held the seat since 1998 when he ran for it after Coats had decided to retire…


  4. michael reynolds says:

    Heh. Heh heh heh. Ha hah hah hah hah! HAH HAH HAH! AHHHH HAHAHAHAHAHA!

    We’re not just going to beat Republicans, we’re going to finish them off.

  5. Tyrell says:

    “war chest of over 9.2 million dollars left over ” : just how long can they keep that money ?
    He should be considered as a vp choice: experienced, well known, respected.

  6. Neil Hudelson says:


    He and Hillary are close friends. Evan would be a competent Vice President once in office. The issue is, the VEEP also needs to be great on the campaign trail. Bayh just doesn’t excite non-Hoosier Democrats all that much. (And a good amount of Hoosier excitement comes down to “you mean we can actually beat Republican?”)

  7. wr says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Bayh is Joe Lieberman without the annoying voice, a sanctimonious tool. He decided not to run for reelection when it was obvious he was going to lose, giving speeches about how he wanted to devote himself to real public service. And then he went to work as a lobbyist.

  8. wr says:

    @wr: That said, if his return is what it takes to get the Senate back, Godspeed to him. But he really is a toad. Unfortunately that’s the best we’re going to do out of a place like Indiana.