His nightmare averted, Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker says longshot candidate Tamyra d'Ippolito did not meet a noon deadline today to submit the needed signatures to file for the U.S. Senate. The Bloomington cafe owner was poised to become the Democratic nominee by default, after incumbent Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) dropped out of the race, Monday.
But d'Ippolito says county clerks told her that it would take one week to know for sure, and she also contends that she can still collect signatures past the deadline.
Parker says no candidates, including d'Ippolito, will appear on the Democratic primary ballot. Instead, the state party's 32 member central committee will handpick the nominee for the November election.
"We do not have to have it stuffed down our throats," d'Ippolito told WHAS11 News Tuesday afternoon, "This is your guy and you're going to vote for him or else."
And, in a statement, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn is echoing that sentiment. “Assuming there is no qualified candidate that files the appropriate documentation before the deadline, Senator Bayh should call on the State Democratic Party to ask an Indiana court to extend the candidate filing deadline," Cornyn said.
Bayh's sudden retirement left Democrats scrambling.
"I frankly don't think this political process is working for me, you or anybody," d'Ippolito said, "because we're in a pickle right now. And I feel sorry for the Democratic heads because here they stuck by their man, like Tammy Wynette says, and basically wouldn't let information out about me. Now what he's done as of yesterday, they must be not feeling too good."
d'Ippolito says when Evan Bayh said goodbye yesterday, she was short 1000 of the 4500
signatures a candidate needs to get on the primary ballot. A candidate needs 500 signatures from each of Indiana's nine congressional districts. In the 7th congressional district Tuesday however, the Marion County voter registration office reports it received just three signatures for d'Ippolito by Tuesday's deadline.
Yet, d'Ippolito had an outside shot at getting those signatures. And support began popping up as some liberal Democrats saw an opportunity to get a progressive on the ballot. Unlike the moderate Bayh, d'Ippolito supports a liberal White House agenda, including the healthcare overhaul, more education funding and job creation.
Some Republicans who launched overnight petition drives in support of d'Ippolito's candidacy saw in the obscure cafe owner the perfect Democratic nominee -- one who couldn't win.
WHAS11 news asked d'Ippolito if she would regret her candiday leading to a Republican Senate victory.
"hmm. Well, I don't think that would happen," she responded, "But I don't know. I'm just excited that there's going to be somebody new in there whether its me or somebody else."