No Democrat meets Ind. deadline for Senate seat

February 16, 2010 3:23:12 PM PST
Tuesday was the deadline to submit signatures needed to get on the ballot for the Indiana primary election in May. Monday's surprise announcement from Senator Evan Bayh that he will not seek re-election for US Senate turned the deadline into a bit of a scramble.

There is only one Democrat that was interested in challenging Bayh. However, she did not meet the deadline. So, the state Democratic Party will choose the party's nominee for the November election.

It is an election Republicans say they can win. Former Republican Senator Dan Coats and at least four other Republicans are expected to be on the ballot.

Indiana State Senator Marlin Stuzman met the noon deadline to file the petition carrying the required 500 signatures to enter the Hoosier State's May primary.

Stuzman is a Republican. He and others in his party believe they have a real shot at the Senate seat now that Democrat Evan Bayh has decided to call it quits.

"I think our chances in the fall are really good right now, so we are excited about the position we are in," said Ind. State Sen. Marlin Stuzman, (R) U.S. Senate candidate.

But, Indiana Democrats say, do not count them out.

"It's an imminently winnable seat for the Democratic Party, and do think you'll see a number of names now floated," said U.S. Rep. Peter Visclosky, (D) Merrillville.

Names like southern Indiana Congressman Brad Elsworth...

Because Evan Bayh announced his retirement a day before the filing deadline, there are no Democrats who had enough time to gather the number of required signatures, so the Indiana Democratic party will choose a candidate.

Political experts question Evan Bayh's timing.

"I don't quote understand why a person who is that fed up with Washington would show his frustration the day before people could file for his office in his own party," said Paul Green, Roosevelt University.

Bayh say his frustration with extreme partisan politics is one of the reasons he decided not to run for re-election.

"There is just too much brain-dead partisanship, tactical maneuvering for short-term political advantage rather than focusing on the greater good," said Bayh.

But Indiana Democratic Congressman Peter Visclosky disagrees.

"There are a lot of people -- particularly in the House of Representatives who I'm familiar with -- on both parties who get along well, who solve problems and are there to make the world a better place," said Visclosky.

Congressman Visclosky believes partisan politics is more of a perception than a reality because extremes from both parties are the ones that dominate the news.

Visclosky is not interested in Evan Bayh's seat. However, Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott says he would like to be chosen by his party to replace Bayh on the ballot.