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Former Sen. Dan Coats to challenge Evan Bayh in Indiana

Senate Republicans scored a major coup in their attempt to broaden the playing field this November by luring former senator Dan Coats (R) into the race against Sen. Evan Bayh (D) in Indiana.

Coats is expected to announce his candidacy today, according to informed Republican sources.

After serving four terms in the House, Coats was appointed to fill the vacancy caused by Dan Quayle's election as vice president in 1988. He was subsequently elected in 1990 to the remainder of Quayle's term and in 1992 won the seat outright. He retired in 1998, making way for Bayh, who had been a two-term governor, to cruise to an open-seat victory over then Ft. Wayne Mayor Paul Helmke.

National Republicans are convinced that Bayh is vulnerable due to his vote in favor of President Obama's health care plan and economic stimulus package.

The party attempted to convince House Republican Conference Chair Mike Pence to take on Bayh but he passed -- perhaps with an eye on a 2012 bid for president.

While Coats give Republicans a very credible challenger to Bayh, the Democratic Senator is no slouch. Bayh's obvious strength is his financial prowess as he ended 2009 with $13 million in the bank and his sterling electoral record that includes two terms as governor and two terms in the Senate.

Bayh's biggest potential weakness is the fact that he hasn't run a truly competitive race in decades and may not have the fire in the belly to do so now given that he weighed retirement earlier in this cycle.

Coats will also have to answer a few basic questions. He does not currently live in the state (GOP sources say he and his wife had long planned to move back), is a federally registered lobbyist and, for someone who left office expressing a disdain for fundraising, will have to do lots of it to get competitive with Bayh.

Still, Coats' candidacy is rightly regarded as a coup for national Republicans who, in the aftermath of Sen.-elect Scott Brown's (R) victory in a Massachusetts Senate special election last month, have been working hard behind the scenes to expand the playing field.

Recruitment efforts are ongoing in Washington, Wisconsin and New York, according to informed Republican sources.

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 3, 2010; 7:30 AM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Birch Bayh would have fought for universal health care -- I know, talked to him about it in the 60s.
Evan Bayh -- drank his wife's insurance kool aid -- Coates will be a disaster, but so what? Evan Bayh has stabbed us in the back.

Posted by: lehi | February 8, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

37th, from yesterday's Boston Globe

"Massachusetts election officials had to wait until at least 10 days after the Jan. 19 election to allow overseas ballots to arrive. Those results have now been tallied and all but three communities – Salem, Springfield, and Westfield – have submitted final results to the secretary of state’s office. Those three are expected to have the final results turned in before the Governor’s Council meets Wednesday at noon.

There were about 1,900 ballots sent overseas, which won't alter the results but still must be tallied.

“We’ve followed the book on this,” Secretary of State William F. Galvin said in an interview. “We’ve proceeded as we would with any other election.”

After the Governor’s Council approves the results, it needs signatures from the governor and the secretary of state. The certificate will then be given to Brown and provided to the Secretary of the United States Senate.

If Brown wanted, he could fly down Wednesday or Thursday and be sworn in almost immediately. He has been planning, however, to have the ceremony on Feb. 11 and a spokesman, Felix Browne, said this afternoon that is still the plan."







Posted by: margaretmeyers | February 3, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

As a former Hoosier, I remember both Bayh and Coates well. Bayh's main problem is that his background is shady, and many Republicans know it. It includes the RICO incarceration of a close associate to him in his run-up to the governor's race in 1990. Northern Indiana remains a cesspool of incompetent and incorrigible Democrats, and it will probably be Bayh's undoing.

The best thing Bayh could do for the Hoosier state is to call it quits and get one of the many excellent Democratic candidates to run against Coates.

Posted by: expat2MEX | February 3, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I forgot about Hostettler, or Hoosttler, like in Whos-that-ler. A guy that lost his cong. seat to a 'famous' democrat mayor in a district that was jerried so the republicans could win with a ham sandwich on the ticket.

Posted by: cannoneer | February 3, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

If Wa Po approves of Coats, then he's RINO like Scott Brown!

Posted by: mary3211 | February 3, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse





Posted by: dove369 | February 3, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

An evil Republican against America's most plastic politician, the ultra-phoney Evan Bayh?

If only they could both lose.

Posted by: kevrobb | February 3, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse



The People of Massachusetts have sent their Senator to Washington and Harry Reid, Obama and the other democrats CONTINUE TO DISRESPECT THE PEOPLE OF MASSACHUSETTS by refusing to seat Scott Brown.

What is their problem??

The Constitution is clear - the term of the replacement is "until the election"

Anyone complaining about the Constitution should look into this.


Posted by: 37thand0street | February 3, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

The environment is ripe for Republican wins.

Obama and the democrats have proven they are failures at governing.

Obama's mistakes are obvious - and it is clear that he still has an attitude problem.

No one goes before Congress and takes shots at the other party the way Obama did - it is just rude and counter-productive.

AND no one does that after promising for so long to be bipartisan. Obama's position is a complete joke. Bipartisanship DOES NOT mean that they fall behind your far-left agenda. It means YOU negotiate to CENTRIST POSITIONS.

This is Obama's wacky idea.

Obama's position on terrorism seals him as a one-term President.


Posted by: 37thand0street | February 3, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Fine with me if Coats runs and wins. Who needs these whining corporate democrats like Bayh, Landriue, Lincoln, and Nelson? They are mad because the progressives are calling them out for not supporting health reform. Scr*w them! The democrats really don't have the majority anyway with these losers.

Posted by: sandnsmith | February 3, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the GOP has not changed under Michael Steele, only entrenched. Selecting an elder, white lobbyist racist who lives out of the state to run for the Senate seat in Indiana. Seems the message here is Pence feared the competition, no one else wanted to challenge Bayh, so let's bring in the old guys with old ideas and take our country back.

The GOP is the party of old white rscist white men who live in the failed past. Racist Rush Limbaugh is their hero.

Good entertainment, but a waste of time for the people of Indiana.

Posted by: COWENS99 | February 3, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

'but I'm off for the morning at least.'

Yay! Couldcha take 37 and zouk/drivl/snobama/whatever with you? They could REALLY use an outing...

Posted by: drindl | February 3, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Although consecutive time serving as a Senator is the primary factor, it's much more important for each individual Senator if the GOP actually take over the majority. Coats would be at the TOP of the incoming class (just like Lautenberg was) due to his former service in the Senate. It should be a fascinating race, but I'm off for the morning at least.

Posted by: JakeD2 | February 3, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

'Coats will also have to answer a few basic questions. He does not currently live in the state (GOP sources say he and his wife had long planned to move back), is a federally registered lobbyist '

A carpet-bagging corporate lobbyist -- just what the country needs more of.

Posted by: drindl | February 3, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Coats would also be a 67 year-old Senate freshman.

Does the Fix really think this lobbyist is going to attract voters from any segment beyond the old-fashioned GOP base? There's something here fo everyone to reject: insider, lobbyist, non-resident, quitter, Reublican, and already a senior citizen.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | February 3, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Coats is a much more capable and honest Republican than Bayh is.

Bye Bayh!

Posted by: lichtme | February 3, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

A local snooze called Rokita for Senate. I got suckered. My bad. Rokita in the congress is good too! But Dan Coats over Evan? No chance. There is a no-name state senator in the ring as well. No chance. Unless there is a lightening bolt from heaven, we are stuck with Evan for 6 more years. I really don't think Dan Coats has the stomach for a real political fight. And when the union goons come a-storming in from Chicago ......

Posted by: cannoneer | February 3, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse


That is not the story we keep hearing - we keep on hearing that there is an impending crisis ---

NOW which is it?

I think a really good point has been brought up here - Is Social Security in trouble or NOT ???

There is a nagging feeling that the media is manipulated into reporting an imminent crisis, we have to spend a whole bunch of money to solve it - and save ourselves from something created by someone else.

Which is it ??


Posted by: 37thand0street | February 3, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Begs the question: On behalf of whom has Mr. Coats been lobbying? Seems kind of important...

Posted by: marty16 | February 3, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Todd Rokita is NOT running against Evan Bayh. He is running for the 4th Congressional seat which Steve Buyer just recently he would retire from. He already announced that he would NOT run for Senate.



In reply to cannoneer:

Dan Coats will be viewed as a quitter by Hoosiers. A career was handed to him and he walked away when it appeared that he may have to do a little work. A far better candidate announced yesterday, Tod Rokita. He is the state Atty. General, not known in the Beltway, but very well known in Indiana and well respected. Solid, solid, conservative. Born and raised in Munster, a Republican stronghold within a corrupt, democrat-controlled Lake County, southeast of Chicago. Tod knows how honest government will be rewarded - it is the Munster way. I expect Tod will brush Dan aside and hammer Evan in the general this fall.

Posted by: Hoosierland | February 3, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

37 and Mark, as long as immigration stays up at the same rate and we cna find a way for those people to pay into the medicare/social security system (immigration reform??) than we shouldn't have a problem with too many retirees. Not to mention the recent downturn has delayed a lot of people from retiring due to losses in their 401Ks which may help ease the burden of the baby boomer generation.

That being said if we want to fix our deficit/debt we will have to have comprehensive entitlement reform, and that means both sides will have to give up some of the things they love (ie Dems will have to increase the age of availability, and Repubs will have to agree to increased income ceilings for Social Security and Medicare).

This may be very possible if moderates like Evan Bayh is given another 6 years to work on it. However, if the partisanship and the win at all costs attitude that is permeating the two parties these days wins out then we have no hope of passing something as hard to swallow as entitlement reform (see how I brought it back on topic:-)

Posted by: AndyR3 | February 3, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Dan Coats will be viewed as a quitter by Hoosiers. A career was handed to him and he walked away when it appeared that he may have to do a little work. A far better candidate announced yesterday, Tod Rokita. He is the state Atty. General, not known in the Beltway, but very well known in Indiana and well respected. Solid, solid, conservative. Born and raised in Munster, a Republican stronghold within a corrupt, democrat-controlled Lake County, southeast of Chicago. Tod knows how honest government will be rewarded - it is the Munster way. I expect Tod will brush Dan aside and hammer Evan in the general this fall.

Posted by: cannoneer | February 3, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Collecting petition signatures is not as easy as it sounds. There is a state election form that must be completed and signed by 500 registered voters in each of the 9 congressional districts. This takes a lot of time and effort.

Here's the form:

In reply to:

37thand0street says:

If Coats and his wife register, then they have two signatures.

Posted by: Hoosierland | February 3, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Well, I'm off to work. Have a good day everyone. I can only assume that 37th's job, or obsession (or both) is to post off topic anti Obama posts all day long that hijack the comments section of the blog.

Posted by: jrosco3 | February 3, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse


If Coats and his wife register, then they have two signatures.


Posted by: 37thand0street | February 3, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Obama seems genuinely angry over the stopping of his health care plan.

However, Obama was never angry about the additional taxes he wanted to impose on everyone else.

It is absolutely amazing how the root of Obama's anger is in arrogance. It was the lack of negotiation with the Republicans - the desire of the democrats to have everything their way - which messed up the health care bill.

Obama has got to be kidding.



Posted by: 37thand0street | February 3, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

There are two other hurdles for Coats to pull this off.

1) He's not registered to vote in Indiana.

2) He'll need to collect 4,500 petition signatures to get on the ballot. He'll have to do this in less than 12 days.

Posted by: Hoosierland | February 3, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse


Yea, it looks like those numbers are correct -

You make a good point, if the median age of the US is 35 or 36 - why are they saying that we are headed toward a ratio of 1 to 2 or 1 to 3 retirees per worker -

Immigration has have something to do with it - because immigrants tend to come in their twenties - and have children here - meanwhile their parents and grandparents stay in the home country.

So the median age of many immigrant families maybe 13 - 18 -

I don't know the numbers -


Posted by: 37thand0street | February 3, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: ytrfyetityjytoeyhfjytug | February 3, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

margaret, jrosco, and streetcorner have all made useful observations about the supposed major coup. As to streetcorner's emphasis on name ID, I suppose if it is 20 years old the question is what older voters thought of him when he was in office, and what their initial buzz is.

BB made the point that the "DC lobbyist" tag may generate a TEA person in the R Primary.

These posts are the best on topic posts we have seen here in awhile.
With apologies to all but streetcorner, back on the Whitman thread I wrote that the median age of Californians above the age of 18 was about 40. He thought that was counterintuitive. It well may be. But it is apparently true. From

we see that 38.6% are between 20 and 44; 30.8% are above the age of 44. So allowing for adding in 18 and nineteen year olds, the median must be about 40. It is about 30 for the population as a whole taking in minors, and that is even more counterintuitive.

High continuing birthrates and migration patterns must outweigh the baby boomers by more than we are often led to believe.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 3, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

One other thing about Coats -- when he was asked by Pres Bush to steer Harriet Miers through the appointment process to the Supreme Court, he apparently thought her lack of intellectual muscle was a strength.

Posted by: jrosco3 | February 3, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Margaret's comments at 7:58 a.m. -- I question how getting Coats to run is a "major coup" -- in addition to Margaret's comments, he hasn't run a race in 20 years.

Posted by: jrosco3 | February 3, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse


You have points, however having an experienced candidate with name recognition with the poltical atmosphere this year is a COUP.

It is true.

One thing Scott Brown proved is you need a good candidate in order to capitalize on the public environment.

If one looks at the polls and the map, Indiana, Wisconsin and New York could end up being the battlefields this fall.

The Senate election map is much more spread out, with many more possibilities of switches in 2012 - however that is a long way off.

No one knows what the public mood is going to be in this fall in any event.


Posted by: 37thand0street | February 3, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Rather than a major coup it's more like "keep Indiana blue". Mike Pence or John Hostettler would have been a better candidate to take on Bayh. Pence is clearly not presidential material, but could possibly win this seat. This was not good strategy by the GOP. Run a Washington lobbyist? Please...

Posted by: soindem | February 3, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Coats has about as much chance as some relatively unknown community organizer with absolutely no executive experience and a penchant for breaking campaign promises....oh my goodness, Coats is a shoo-in!

Posted by: JCM-51 | February 3, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully, we'll all be able to say bye, bye to Evan Byah.

Birch Byah was widely admired, but his son has been a very sad disappointment.

Posted by: Jerzy | February 3, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Margaret, I have learned that CC loves the saying 'major coup'. The problem is that as you point out this anything but major or a coup. Bayh is going to wipe the floor with Coats.

Posted by: AndyR3 | February 3, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Hmm. Left the state to live in DC as a lobbyist. Will return to Indiana so that he can return to Washington. Somebody's due to get primaried.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | February 3, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

I love this column.
1st paragraph: Coats is a MAJOR COUP.
4th paragraph: Well, he was a second choice.
7th paragraph: Coats just has to move back into the state, quit his lucrative lobbying job and decide he no longer disdains fundraising.
8th paragraph: Really, Coats is a MAJOR Coup.

Settle on your story, repeat it often, repeat it louder. It's been known to work.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | February 3, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

I hope Coats wins!

Massachusetts Liberal

Posted by: lichtme | February 3, 2010 7:41 AM | Report abuse

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