The timing of Evan Bayh's announcement that he is not seeking reelection might be more than just inconvenient for Democrats, it could be disastrous.
As Politico's Jonathan Martin reports, a Bloomington restaurant owner was already collecting signatures to get on the primary ballot against Bayh, and if Tamyra D'Ippolito somehow manages to secure the 500 signatures from each of Indiana's nine congressional districts by the noon deadine Tuesday, she would be the only Democrat whose name would appear on the May primary ballot.
In that scenario, another Democrat could still get the nomination via a write-in campaign, but who knows how successful that would be?
In an interview with POLITICO, Tamyra D'Ippolito said that after news broke Monday morning that Bayh was retiring, her campaign contacted Democratic officials in Indiana to request they help her get the needed signatures by noon Tuesday — when they must be verified by the state’s 92 country registrars.
It would be something close to a nightmare scenario for Democrats: were D’Ippolito to qualify for the ballot, she would be the likely nominee and the party would be left to face the GOP with a political neophyte who said she is running in part to take on a party establishment she said practices “sexism with a big S.”
It’s precisely what Bayh had hoped to avoid. By disclosing his retirement one day before the filing deadline, the idea was that no Democrat would qualify for the primary ballot and the party’s state central committee could tap their favored candidate.