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Bayh says quitting now avoids costly primary

by Joe Arnold


Posted on February 16, 2010 at 12:48 AM

As I reported on Evan Bayh's stunning withdrawal from his reelection bid on Monday, immediate questions included why is he quitting, who will be the next Democrat nominee, and why did Bayh choose such a late date to make his announcement?

Bayh explained why, and the nominee is TBA. 

I suggested on-air that the timing would probably prevent a costly and perhaps divisive primary battle.  The Democratic State Central Committee chooses the nominee rather than voters if no candidate secures 4500 signatures by noon, Tuesday.

And the Talking Points Memo reports that was Bayh's arguement on a conference call with county Democratic Party chairs on Monday afternoon.

Bayh opened the call by repeating the reasons for not seeking reelection he mentioned in his press conference today, the source said. But in a message tailored for his audience of local party officials, Bayh said the timing of his announcement could be a positive for Democrats. The source said that Bayh told the call that the lack of a primary would mean that the Republican party candidates would attack each other on their own, with no Democrats to get in the way. On the Democratic side of the process, according to the source, Bayh said officials would choose a strong nominee from their "deep bench."

"He said, 'if this goes to the state committee then we'll have selected a candidate without a divisive primary,'" the source told me this evening.

 Meanwhile, reaction poured in throughout Monday afternoon.

President Barack Obama thanked Bayh for more than two decades of work on a number of issues, saying:

"I look forward to continuing to work with him on these critical challenges throughout the rest of the year."

While Governor Mitch Daniels (R-IN) was gracious:  

 "At a time when people of moderation with minds open to the views of others are increasingly rare in Washington, the nation will miss him as much as our state does.”

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele was partisan, if not gleeful:

"The fact of the matter is Senator Evan Bayh and moderate Democrats across the country are running for the hills because they sold out their constituents and don’t want to face them at the ballot box."

And, Bayh's press office released a lengthy narrative of his achievements, what might be considered Bayh's political obituary (or does it lay the groundwork for some other position?  President?) as his staff attempts to secure his legacy in print:

Evan Bayh has been a common-sense pragmatist who focuses on innovative solutions to help tackle our toughest challenges at home and abroad. In an era of polarization, partisanship and paralysis, he has filled a unique position in American politics—a “get-the-job-done” consensus-builder consistently supported by Democrats, Republicans and independents alike.


President Barack Obama

For more than two decades, Evan Bayh has devoted his career and his life to serving his fellow Hoosiers. During that time, he has fought tirelessly for Indiana’s working families, reaching across the aisle on issues ranging from job creation and economic growth to fiscal responsibility and national security. I look forward to continuing to work with him on these critical challenges throughout the rest of the year. Michelle and I thank Senator Bayh for his leadership and service and wish him and his family all the best in their future endeavors.

 Media Advisory

February 15, 2010

Governor Daniels issued this statement about Senator Evan Bayh’s announcement today that he will not seek re-election:

“Evan Bayh has served Indiana faithfully and with great integrity in three decades and three important capacities.  At a time when people of moderation with minds open to the views of others are increasingly rare in Washington, the nation will miss him as much as our state does.”



WASHINGTON – Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele released the following statement today:

“Senator Bayh announced today he won’t seek reelection, claiming to be disenchanted with the political process.  After Democrats spent billions of taxpayer dollars on a failed stimulus and voted to spend billions more for their unpopular government-run health care plan, I think it’s fair to say that Americans are disenchanted as well.  The timing isn’t a coincidence either.  The fact of the matter is Senator Evan Bayh and moderate Democrats across the country are running for the hills because they sold out their constituents and don’t want to face them at the ballot box.  One year after the $862 billion stimulus was passed, Americans are making it clear that they are tired of the Democrats’ binge-spending agenda, are done being ignored, and are going to do something about it in November.”


Press Advisory
February 15, 2010
State Senator Marlin Stutzman will hold a press conference
to announce the filing of his official candidacy
Marlin Stutzman will address the media and take questions
concerning his candidacy for U.S. Senate.
Where: Indianapolis, Indiana Statehouse - South Atrium
When: Tuesday February 16, 2009 @ 1 PM

Copies of press statement will be available at press conference.

For Immediate Release
February 15, 2010
Marlin Stutzman proudly endorses Senator Jim DeMint's call for significant budget reforms.
"The practice of not spending more than we take in should be the norm for the government as it is for Hoosier families. Unfortunately, Washington has become where common sense dies" stated Stutzman.
Howe, IN - U.S. Senate candidate Marlin Stutzman today announced his support for a one-year moratorium on earmarks and a balanced budget constitutional amendment. Stutzman voted on similar reforms in Indiana. While in the state legislature, Marlin Stutzman voted for a bill that limited spending to 99% of the state's revenue. Since 2002, he has worked to take the state of Indiana from a $1billion deficit to having $1billion in reserves in 2010. "I am happy to endorse the substantial and substantive reforms by Senator Jim DeMint. Senator DeMint has been a clear and conservative voice, and I look forward to working with him if given the honor of being the next U.S. Senator in Indiana."

Evan Bayh: Progress over Partisanship

Evan Bayh is a heartland Democrat with a history of advancing progressive values in a traditionally Republican state. First elected Indiana governor at age 32—America’s youngest governor at the time—Bayh served two terms as Indiana’s chief executive, one term as Indiana secretary of state, and this year will complete his second and final term in the United States Senate.

 Throughout his career in public service, Evan Bayh has been a common-sense pragmatist who focuses on innovative solutions to help tackle our toughest challenges at home and abroad. In an era of polarization, partisanship and paralysis, he has filled a unique position in American politics—a “get-the-job-done” consensus-builder consistently supported by Democrats, Republicans and independents alike.

 Because of his insistence on progress over partisanship, Hoosiers consistently returned Bayh to public office. He never lost an election in five runs for statewide office in Indiana. 

 In 1992, Bayh was re-elected governor with 62 percent of the vote on a day in which Bill Clinton received only 37 percent of the Hoosier vote. Bayh garnered almost as many votes (1,382,151) as the first President Bush and Ross Perot combined (1,445,309).

 In 1998, Bayh won the Senate seat once occupied by his father, Birch Bayh, with 64 percent of the vote, reflecting the largest margin of victory ever by a Democrat in a U.S. Senate race in Indiana.

 In 2004, he was re-elected to the Senate with 62 percent of the vote on a day when nearly 18,000 more Hoosiers cast their ballot for Bayh than President Bush.

Evan Bayh was born in Shirkieville, Indiana. He graduated with honors from Indiana University in 1978 and received his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1981. He and his wife, Susan, are the proud parents of twin sons, Nick and Beau, 14.

What follows are the highlights of nearly a quarter-century in public service for the state of Indiana:

INDIANA GOVERNOR (1988 - 1996):

As a successful two-term governor, Bayh met his obligations to the people of Indiana by creating jobs, expanding educational opportunities and improving health care for Hoosier families. He balanced the state budget for eight consecutive years without once raising taxes. He helped build one of the strongest, most financially secure economies in the country, characterized by sound management and fiscal growth that created more than 350,000 new jobs—or 1,000 new jobs every week he was governor.

Bayh left office with a 79 percent approval rating, prompting The Indianapolis Star to write: “When Republicans praise a Democratic governor’s…achievements in stimulating industrial growth, bringing in new jobs, securing existing jobs, moving ahead in public education, coping with crime, drug abuse and teenage pregnancy, and helping to preserve and strengthen solid, healthy middle-class values, it’s good news. Indiana is lucky to have a governor in tune with the times, whose new fatherhood…makes him sharply aware of the things that matter most to families.”

CUTTING TAXES: Under Bayh, Indiana had one of the lowest tax burdens in the nation, eight years of balanced budgets and a leaner state government. His administration left Indiana with the largest budget surplus in state history—three times the national average. His governorship marked the state’s first eight-year period in 40 years without a tax increase. He signed into law the largest single state tax cut in Indiana history when he slashed the state’s annual auto excise tax in half, saving taxpayers $1.6 billion over six years. In addition, he achieved $1.5 billion in savings by comprehensively restructuring the state Medicaid program to eliminate waste and inefficiencies.

CREATING JOBS: His economic development program attracted dozens of new companies to Indiana, bringing in $2.3 billion in new investment and creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs. To protect taxpayers, he utilized tough “clawback” provisions that prevented companies from receiving incentives if job creation promises were not kept. More than a half-million Indiana businesses and citizens benefited when Bayh slashed government regulation by eliminating or reducing two thirds of state fees under his control.

CNN’s Moneyline noted in February 1996: “Indiana’s economy is churning out the jobs at twice the national average.” The Economist commented in January 1996: “If anyone doubts the new industrial vitality of America, look to Indiana.”

THE ‘EDUCATION’ GOVERNOR: Bayh raised academic standards and created unprecedented opportunities for students to attend college. His signature educational accomplishment, the 21st Century Scholars program, guarantees free in-state college tuition to underprivileged students who graduate from high school with passing grades, so long as they sign a pledge to be alcohol, drug and crime free. The program continues today, and more than 120,000 Hoosier students have enrolled.

Under Bayh’s leadership, Indiana moved from 40th to 9th in the nation in college enrollment. He also increased funding for schools in every state budget, increasing funding by $3.1 billion for grades K-12, even during an economic downturn. He oversaw a $30 million grant program to put computers in every Indiana school and expanded remediation programs so that every child who has difficultly meeting high academic standards could receive extra instruction.

CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERSHIP: Bayh’s tenure as governor was also marked by historic civil rights advances. He appointed the first woman and the first African-American to the Indiana Supreme Court. In 1996, he received the Breaking the Glass Ceiling Award for appointing more talented and qualified women to top executive and judicial positions than any governor in state history, with fully half of top administration jobs filled by women. The Bayh administration also revitalized the Indiana Civil Rights Commission and contracted with the greatest number of minority- and women-owned businesses in state history.

REFORMING WELFARE: Bayh played a leading role in utilizing government to ease the burdens confronting families. He advocated common-sense measures to strengthen the lives of our children, from encouraging responsible fatherhood to moving Hoosiers from welfare to work. Under his leadership, Indiana led the nation in reducing the numbers of its citizens on welfare, transitioning more than 1,000 families per month from government dependence to self-sufficiency. He did so while ensuring Hoosiers had the necessary support to maintain self-sufficiency, such as adding 31,000 new child-care positions statewide.

SUPPORTING HOOSIER FAMILIES: Bayh championed responsible fatherhood initiatives and adopted policies holding non-custodial parents financially responsible for their children, leading to unprecedented collections to help single moms. The Bayh administration also implemented Project RESPECT, a campaign to reduce teen pregnancy that leveraged millions of dollars of paid television and radio advertising, while distributing grants to schools, social service agencies and religiously affiliated groups to fund educational initiatives for young Hoosiers.

PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT: Finally, Indiana made substantial environmental strides under Bayh’s gubernatorial tenure. Toxic chemical emissions dropped 82 percent as Indiana adopted some of the toughest water quality standards in the nation. He led a nationally recognized effort to restore environmentally hazardous sites in Indiana for future community use, forging a partnership between government, communities and businesses to clean up contaminated sites in urban centers and return them to economic usefulness. He also oversaw the largest expansion of state parks since the 1930s to ensure that Indiana’s natural wonders would be protected for generations.


During his two terms in the United States Senate, Evan Bayh has focused his domestic legislative agenda on job creation and helping middle class families.

PROTECTING JOBS: He wrote and enacted legislation to create a new federal enforcement network to crack down on foreign competitors that are stealing American innovations through product piracy and counterfeiting. He fought successfully to persuade international entities to crack down on unfair trade practices and strengthen U.S. enforcement when foreign competitors illegally dump their products on American consumers and flood our markets with their cheap and unsafe goods.  He helped revitalize the recreational vehicle industry during tough times in the economic recession, passing a generous new sales tax deduction to help families purchase recreational vehicles, and he pushed the Small Business Administration to free up capital to help dealers maintain inventory supplies and stay in business through the economic recession.

LEADING AUTO SECTOR INTO 21st CENTURY: Bayh has also helped retool Indiana’s automotive industry to be a leader in making the advanced vehicles of tomorrow, securing more than a half-billion dollars for Hoosier companies making the hi-tech batteries and component parts of the clean-energy vehicles of the future.

ASSISTING WORKERS: He also helped to pass and renew Trade Adjustment Assistance legislation to assist workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own when American companies move operations overseas or close due to unfair foreign competition.

CHILDREN’S HEALTH: He has been a leader in promoting children’s health, writing and passing a bill to improve pediatric health to ensure that every federal dollar authorized for children’s health is a dollar spent on the best care available.

RESPONSIBLE FATHERHOOD: He has been the Senate’s foremost leader in promoting responsible fatherhood initiatives, assisting single parents, supporting local organizations that foster family stability, helping fathers reconnect with their children and be the role models their children need them to be.

SAYING “NO” TO WASTE: Bayh has waged a sometimes lonely battle to stop wasteful spending before it starts through balancing the federal budget, ending frivolous earmarks, reining in corporate subsidies and closing tax loopholes. He has voted against billions of dollars in pork barrel projects, including the so-called “Bridge to Nowhere,” and helped close the “Bermuda tax loophole” that allowed certain companies to set up P.O. boxes overseas and avoid U.S. taxes.

PROPERTY TAXES: When local property tax bills soared in Indiana, Bayh wrote and passed the first ever federal property tax deduction for homeowners who do not itemize, providing a $1,000 deduction to 570,000 eligible Hoosier homeowners. He helped pass legislation to make permanent the income tax deductions to help families afford the rising costs of college.

CREDIT CARD REFORM: Bayh used his position on the Senate Banking Committee to cast the tie-breaking vote to advance credit card reform and crack down on abusive bank practices that keep consumers mired in debt by tucking exploitative clauses in the fine print of credit card agreements.

FIGHTING TERRORISM: A member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Armed Services Committee, Bayh is one of Congress’ most respected voices on a wide range of security issues. A leader in the fight against international terrorism, Senator Bayh authored a key provision in the Senate’s anti-terrorism bill to disrupt terrorist financial networks by requiring international finance groups to register and report suspicious activity. He has cosponsored bipartisan legislation to expand international education programs to encourage civil society in places where government is not responsive to the needs of its people.

Bayh is chairman of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on International Trade and Finance, a post he uses to oversee the national security implications of foreign investment. He passed legislation to protect critical U.S. infrastructure and valuable energy assets, requiring the director of national intelligence to review foreign transactions before they are approved.

CURBING SPREAD OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS: Bayh wrote and passed the toughest economic sanctions ever approved against Iran in an effort to stop its illicit nuclear weapons program, targeting the regime’s Achilles heel—its reliance on imported petroleum—to stop the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism from obtaining an atomic weapon. Bayh has worked with fellow Indiana Senator Richard Lugar on nuclear non-proliferation issues, authorizing the establishment of an international nuclear fuel bank to provide a safe supply of civilian nuclear energy to developing countries and deter nations seeking atomic weapons under its guise. Bayh has also championed the Nunn-Lugar program to dismantle and safely store “loose nukes” in the former Soviet Union and cosponsored legislation to help our allies detect and interdict nuclear bomb-making components.

PROTECTING OUR HOMELAND: He was a lead proponent of legislation calling upon Congress to fully implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, and he pushed legislation to more closely scrutinize cargo at our ports to monitor for explosives and dangerous shipments. He also helped identify old stockpiles of VX nerve gas and worked with U.S. Army officials to increase security at storage facilities to deter any potential terrorist attack.

SUPPORTING OUR TROOPS: Bayh has also fought to provide American military personnel with the equipment they need to stay safe. When he discovered U.S. combat troops were being forced to scavenge for “hillbilly armor,” Bayh forced the U.S. military to purchase thousands of up-armored Humvees to help protect our combat forces. He passed legislation to improve care for soldiers returning from battle in Iraq and Afghanistan with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). He worked successfully to protect military families from financial difficulties as a result of their service to the country, eliminating the “Patriot Penalty” pay cut that many National Guard members and reservists face when they leave their civilian jobs for active duty. He also passed legislation that will save the average active duty service member thousands of dollars on direct student loans.