January 26th, 2010
12:02 PM ET
8 years ago

GOP leader takes a pass on Senate run

Rep. Mike Pence said Tuesday he would not challenge Sen. Evan Bayh in November.

Rep. Mike Pence said Tuesday he would not challenge Sen. Evan Bayh in November.

(CNN) - Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana, told supporters Tuesday he will not challenge Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Indiana, in November and instead will run for re-election of his House seat.

Pence, who serves as chairman of the House Republican Conference, made the announcement in a letter that was posted to his Facebook page.

"After much prayer and deliberation, I have decided to remain in the House and to seek reelection to the 6th Congressional District in 2010," Pence wrote in the letter. "I am staying for two reasons. First because I have been given the responsibility to shape the Republican comeback as a member of the House Republican Leadership and, second, because I believe Republicans will win back the majority in the House of Representatives in 2010."

National Republicans were hoping that Pence would make the race because they saw him as the strongest candidate to challenge Bayh this year. Pence has a national following within the conservative movement and would likely have been able to raise enough money to compete with Bayh, who was first elected in 1998.

Asked by reporters about his reaction to the Pence decision, Bayh admittedly gave what he called a "non-answer."

"We have a very good relationship and I wish him well in his good service in the House of Representatives," said Bayh.

Full text of letter after the jump:

January 26, 2010

Open Letter to Friends and Supporters

As many of you are aware, I have been approached about running for the United States Senate in 2010. Karen and I have been humbled by the outpouring of support and encouragement which we received from across Indiana, especially since there are several capable and qualified candidates already seeking the Republican nomination.

After much prayer and deliberation, I have decided to remain in the House and to seek reelection to the 6th Congressional District in 2010.
I am staying for two reasons. First because I have been given the responsibility to shape the Republican comeback as a member of the House Republican Leadership and, second, because I believe Republicans will win back the majority in the House of Representatives in 2010.
One year ago I was unanimously elected chairman of the House Republican Conference, the third ranking position in House Republican leadership. I accepted that responsibility because I believed that if Republicans returned to their conservative roots, they could win back the confidence of the American people. And I see it happening every day.

As a Republican leader, I have the opportunity to shape the policy and strategy that will return a Republican majority to the Congress in 2010. So my duty is here, in the House, serving my constituents and my colleagues as we fight to restore a conservative majority to the Congress of the United States. I am not going to leave my post when the fate of the House hangs in the balance. My place is here, in that fight, with the brave men and women who will be winning that victory for the American people.

I also am staying because I believe we will win back the majority in the House of Representatives in 2010, and I am excited to be a part of it. While the opportunity to serve in the United States Senate is significant, I believe the best chance this nation has to restore fiscal discipline, common sense and common values to Washington, D.C., is for conservatives to retake the House in 2010. When we win back the House, we will make history and we will have the power to stop the big government plans of this administration and to steer our nation to a more secure, free and prosperous future.

Last fall, Karen and I completed our first full marathon. We finished the 26.2 miles in just under seven hours despite the rigors on this 50 year-old body and despite many opportunities to step off the track and call it a day. Our inspiration for the day came from a verse in the Bible that reads, "let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

I believe the race marked out for me in 2010 is in the House of Representatives. I believe that if we run that race with conviction and endurance, we can win back the Congress for the common sense and the common values of the American people, turn this tide of big government back and set the stage for a boundless American future.

Thanks to you all who prayed our little family through this difficult decision. I hope that God will someday permit me to perform some wider service to the people of Indiana and the country, but for now my focus must remain on finishing the job I was elected to do by my constituents and my Republican colleagues; representing conservative values in Congress and winning back the House of Representatives.

Filed under: Evan Bayh • Mike Pence
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but....

    Conservative this, liberal that. Whatever. The teabaggers have the right idea but they're mad at the wrong people because they're not that bright and are easily manipulated. Big, bad government isn't the problem, you knuckleheads, the large corporations that control it are. How about a three point plan:

    Kick all, and I mean all lobbyists out of Washington.
    Term limits for all elected officials and supreme court justices.
    Campaign finance reform: must be publicly financed.

    I think a majority of people could get behind this no matter your affiliation. This would solve an awful lot of problems. Have a nice day!

    January 26, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  2. Glenn Koons

    Mike would have made a good Senator. Still, if he can mold a conserv House agenda for the Pubs , that is a good plan too. So, that leaves Daniels, if he chooses , to run. He has been a great guv for Indiana and perhaps he might wish to run against Bayh. Who knows? But, Pence would have beated Evan. Can any other Pub?

    January 26, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  3. awaitingmoderationby CNN

    Too bad, Pence would have made a great candidate and Senator, but should be in line for a leadership positon in the House after they get rid of all the libs and socialists this fall.

    January 26, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  4. Jane/Seattle

    What we STRONGLY need are some good, ethical progressives to step up and enter our government. And I don't mean folks who are using this term PROGRESSIVE. I mean some serious folks who know what Progress could mean in America! Blue Dogs, Red Dogs and every other color Dog is just that, Dogs who do NOT represent the best interests of ALL citizens! Peace

    January 26, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  5. Black Viper

    Ask the conservative so called blue Dog Stupid democrats why the democrats are loosing sits in the house and senates?
    They think they can remain popular or hold on to their sits in red states by draguing their votes on healthcare reform very important issue to democrats or make special deals that favor the insurance industry. The result is now their sits are more treatened than ever because the democrats will not turn out to vote for them and the republicans hates them anyway regardless of their positions. Now they totaly lost the appeal they have with their votes and will loose their sits.
    This shows you how stupid some politicians are.

    January 26, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  6. Texas Jack

    Another incumbent bites the dust. Let's go America vote them all out. We need NOW IS FOR A REPUBLICAN to step up and make a run for this seat.

    January 26, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  7. Pat-Indy

    Pence should challenge Boehner for Speaker of the House/House Minority Leader. However he's going to run for Governor in 2012 after Mitch Daniels is done.

    January 26, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  8. Ron in California

    Randolph you are no expert. Large corporations don't control Government....they influence it by appealing to the greed of the Congress. Can you blame Corporations for wanting their agenda on the table. I don't know about you but, my personal investments are in corporations. I work for a corproation. I bet you do to. I want corporations to have a say in the legislative process. What I don't want is undue influence through financial deals. I want honest Representatives in Washington. The current bunch are pretty much unethical if not dishonest. I say therw them all out.

    January 26, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  9. D.

    Bayh is not the actual guy to beat, there are other leftist losers to concentrate on!

    January 26, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  10. Bobby

    Being a senior member of the house bests being a back-bench senator when running for President, as he will announce mid-2011. Might shock people with how well he does.

    January 26, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  11. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    Interesting......... another GOPer who wont run for office. Bayh is a wonderful senator.

    Jane/Seattle: well said! I agree. Peace to you!

    January 26, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  12. SocialismBad

    Pence made the right decision. Why risk losing his seat in the House. I'm sure he's well positioned to be re-elected.

    I'm sure the Republicans can field a good candidate to challenge Bayh, who has always struck me as a rather reasonable Democrat.

    January 26, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  13. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    To Ron in California: IF you do not believe that large corporations control our government leaders ...... you, sir, are in denial!

    January 26, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  14. gt

    bayh has turn on obama to save his hide,,, i am not sure its to late... we need change and bayh is part of the problem....new ideas ,,,

    January 26, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  15. Sue

    Dang, this is disappointing.

    I wish that Pence would do it--he is already leading in the polls against Bayh.

    January 26, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  16. Russ

    So....God told you not to run? Have you been hanging out with Sarah? How the hell does praying about anything make you decide not to run for the Senate? To start with religion does not belong in our government. When will all you bible thumping right wingers get that through your dumb thick skulls? Religion's are all cults. You little sheep go to church on Sunday get your instructions from the leader then go out the door and either forget everything you just heard or go off the deep end and try to change everyone to see things your way. It's easier to believe in Mary Poppins than the bible.

    January 26, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  17. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but....

    Ron, I think we agree for the most part. Hence my three point plan. I'm a firm believer in capitalism, but when it's unregulated and the supposedly "free" market is constantly manipulated for the benefit of a small elite at the expense of the entire middle class, capitalism is broken. Who are the corporations going to sell their products to when there are a few super-rich people left and the rest are dirt poor? That's what it's coming to. Have a nice day!

    January 26, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  18. daniel

    Just gets me how people think the solution to this mess is...more Republicans! Yessiree, the gang of idiots that got us into this fix is the same gang of idiots that will get us out. Yeehaw, Amos, are we stooooooppppid or what!!!!!!!

    January 26, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  19. Jon

    Conservative here in Indiana, I will be voting to out Bayh. Hopefully Lugar doesn't run because I'll vote to out him as well.

    January 26, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  20. chill

    Prayer and deliberation and a few polls.

    January 26, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  21. lifelong democrat

    I agree with Pence, I can smell defeat of my party. The people are angry, their anger is directed towards my party, I can't blame them; for one year we've seen how one party controlling everything abuse their power. I find my own party quite arrogant, calling ordinary Americans in Townhall meetings last summer astroturf, nazi, morons, rednecks, idiots, stupid, dumb etc etc. I was horrified when Nancy Pelosi called my fellow Americans exercising their right guaranteed under the FIRST AMMENDMENT as nazi and astroturf.

    This was made worse when TEA PARTIERS were called by Cooper Anderson as "teabaggers", I find that comment from a respected network disturbing and quite appalling. The Democrat Party deserve to lose and lose big this November; they've forgotten something so fundamental; they were elected in office to represent their constituent's interest not interest of their own party.

    Would I feel sad if my party lose majority in Congress or Senate? NO. They deserve it, when they ignore the voice of the people, they deserve to lose their majority and more. Obama will be a one term President, history will NEVER be kind to him; the damage he inflicted to this great nation will be felt for many years to come, future generation will pay for this. Too much hubris from Obama and my party destroyed this country.

    January 26, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  22. C Spurgeon

    Just another thug with No from his mouth on every Obama idea. I think he needs to go and get replaced with a centrist Independent that will listen think and vote for the good of the country. We need to get rid of all the wackos on both sides.

    January 26, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. awaitingmoderationbyFauxNews

    First we need to get rid of the right wing fascists.

    January 26, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  24. alphonso

    he know he would lose and another thing evan baye aint no martha coakley right wing idoits!

    January 26, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  25. NC

    To Randolph Carter: I agree with you 100%. The big corporations are the ones controlling this country. They are the ones that have eliminated jobs and are making big profits. If people want to blame someone blame the large greedy corporations.

    January 26, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
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