Indiana Senator Dan Coats To Retire
Indiana Republican Senator Dan Coats announced today that he will not be running for re-election in 2016:
Republican Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana will not seek another term in office, he said Tuesday.
Coats told the political news website Indy Politics that his age and his preference to legislate rather than campaign both played a role in his decision, which he told Senate leaders about Tuesday.
In a statement, Coats pledged to focus his time and energy in his remaining months in office on the “major challenges that Hoosiers sent me to Washington to address.”
“This was not an easy decision,” Coats said in the statement. “While I believe I am well-positioned to run a successful campaign for another six-year term, I have concluded that the time has come to pass this demanding job to the next generation of leaders.”
Coats was a member of the House of Representatives from 1981 to 1989, when he became a senator. He served until 1999, when he stepped down because of a term-limit pledge he’d made to the Indiana electorate. In between two stints in the private sector, he served as ambassador to Germany. He was elected to the Senate again in 2010.
Earlier this month, Coats told Politico that he wouldn’t run for a second term unless he was confident that Congress would be able to accomplish something. But in an interview withHowey Politics Indiana, he said congressional gridlock didn’t factor into his decision.
“It has nothing to do with a terribly dysfunctional Senate,” he said. “It is related to the fact that I had to face the reality of age. There is a seven in front of the next digit. After a campaign and six more years in the Senate, I would be four months shy of 80 years old.”\
Senate vacancies being a rare thing, there are probably plenty of ambitious Indiana politicians who are looking at this race:
According to Indiana press reports, possible Republican contenders include a handful of current House members: Larry Bucshon, Todd Rokita, Marlin Stutzman, Luke Messer, Todd Young, and Susan Brooks. Also mentioned are Brian Bosma, speaker of the Indiana House, and Eric Holcomb, Coats’s in-state chief of staff.
On the Democratic side, there’s been some chatter over whether former Sen. Evan Bayh will throw his hat in the ring. Coats took Bayh’s seat after Bayh decided in 2010 not to run for reelection. At the time, Bayh cited dysfunction in the Senate as his reason for departing, a sentiment that Coats echoed in his early-March comments to Politico.
This being Indiana, the natural conclusion is to conclude that this is likely to be a safe seat for the Republicans in the end. However, it’s worth noting that Bayh served in the Senate for two terms prior to retiring and, of course, that Joe Donnelly, a Democrat, beat Richard Mourdock in the Hoosier State despite the fact that Mitt Romney had won the state quite convincingly at the Presidential level. Depending on who the GOP nominates, and especially if Bayh decides to throw his hat back in the ring, this could very easily become a competitive seat that the GOP will have to defend just as it will be defending potentially vulnerable seats in Illinois, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Florida, and Ohio. This will be a race worth keeping an eye on until we see who gets in the race.