Indiana Republicans Find Their Coats

It's a cold winter, but Indiana Republicans managed to recruit a top-tier candidate to take on Sen. Evan Bayh: Dan Coats, the former Republican senator from Indiana and ambassador to Germany, now a Washington policy adivser and a lobbyist.   Bayh succeeded Coats in 1998. The news of Coats's political comeback was first reported by the Howey Politics Indiana. Coats is a household name in the state and will be able to raise a lot of money instantly.

This may be his first challenge in a year when Washington isn't popular.

Coats was a key behind-the-scenes force in convincing John McCain to take Sarah Palin seriously as a vice presidential candidate. He was a member of "The Family," a close-knit group of rigorously evangelical Christians who run, among things, the now well-known C Street rooming house in Washington, D.C. He also lobbied on behalf of Roache Diagnostics during the health battle reform battle.

He currently is a "senior policy adviser" for the firm of King and Spalding. He has also been a registered lobbyist for Bank of America, Lockheed Martin and the Decision Sciences Corporation. His most recent brush with national attention was in 2005, when he helped (or tried to help) the White House move Harriet Miers's Supreme Court nomination through the Senate. Coats is a former football player. In the Senate, he served on the Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, among others.  An official announcement is expected Wednesday. An e-mail to Coats was not immediately returned.  Bayh has more than $12 million in the bank.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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