GOP Eyes Evan Bayh's Seat

Ahead in the polls, the Indiana Dem bows out

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Another day, another Democratic disappointment: Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana will not seek re-election. A moderate Democrat, Bayh was up in the polls, had millions on hand for his campaign, and was the second choice after Biden for the vice-presidency in 2008. Many political analysts are now handicapping the race for Republicans, while liberals seek explanations, alternatives, and rationalization for Bayh's abrupt exit. For his part, Bayh attributes his decision partly to the rise of partisanship, "too much narrow ideology and not enough practical problem-solving."

  • Opens Another Door for GOP, writes Domenico Montarano at MSNBC. "Sen. Evan Bayh's exit gives Republicans a prime pick-up opportunity," he writes. He then numbers eight states where Republicans have chances to take seats, while noting that "to take back control of the Senate, Republicans will need to gain a net of 10 seats."
  • Must Be a Hidden Explanation, writes Jonathan Chait at The New Republic. "Did the Republicans find some skeleton in his closet? Did he get a lucrative K Street deal?" Chait admits he might be a "cynic" for asking why a politician is quitting when he's so clearly ahead.
  • A Major Blow to Dems Steve Clemons of The Washington Note: "This is serious stuff. ... This could mean that Democrats could lose Biden's seat, Obama's former seat -- and possibly even Harry Reid's seat in addition to Bayh's." Clemons concludes that this is bad news for anyone who holds out hope for Obama's legislative priorities.
  • Will Make Passing Health Care Harder, writes Philip Klein at the conservative American Spectator. On the one hand, Klein writes, the departure of Bayh--a moderate Democrat--could make "other red state Democrats even more nervous than they already are about reelection and thus uneasy about casting a tough vote." Plus, Bayh's likely replacements are Indiana Democrats who Klein says might be unwilling to "cast another vote for the [health care] bill during a difficult race."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.