February 15th, 2010
02:35 PM ET
6 years ago

Bayh announces retirement from U.S. Senate

Sen. Evan Bayh will not seek a third term, giving Republicans a prime pick-up opportunity in Indiana.

Sen. Evan Bayh will not seek a third term, giving Republicans a prime pick-up opportunity in Indiana.

(CNN) - Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Indiana, announced Monday afternoon that he will not seek a third term in the Senate - a major blow to Democrats worried about losses in the looming midterm elections.

"Congress is not operating as it should," Bayh said at a news conference in Indianapolis. There is too much partisanship and "the people's business is not getting done."

Bayh said he loves public service, but does "not love Congress" and is "not motivated by strident partisanship or ideology."

He cited the Senate's recent failure to pass a jobs bill and legislation that would have created a deficit reduction commission as evidence of what he characterized as a broken political system.

Bayh, a former two-term governor, was first elected to the Senate in 1998, taking 62 percent of the vote. He won re-election with 64 percent six years later.

Bayh is the third Democratic senator to announce he is retiring when the curtain drops on the 111th Congress. Sens. Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota previously announced they would not seek re-election.

In total, Democrats will have to defend five open seats in November, as Roland Burris of Illinois and Ted Kaufman of Delaware have stated they will not run for their own six-year terms. Burris was appointed to President Barack Obama's former Senate seat, while Kaufman was appointed to Vice President Joe
Biden's seat.

Meanwhile, Republicans will be forced to defend six seats in the midterm elections. Sens. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Kit Bond of Missouri, Jim Bunning of Kentucky, George Voinovich of Ohio and Sam Brownback of Kansas are all retiring at the end of the year.

Sen. George LeMieux of Florida - who was named to replace Sen. Mel Martinez, who resigned before the end of his term - also will vacate his seat.

Dan Coats, former Republican senator, recently announced a bid to challenge Bayh this year. Coats served from 1989 to 1999, but chose not to run for re-election in the 1998 contest that Bayh won. Former Rep. John Hostettler and state Sen. Marlin Stutzman also are bidding for the GOP Senate nomination
in Indiana.

Even though Bayh, a political centrist, probably would have faced a difficult re-election battle due to the anti-incumbent political climate, an Indianapolis Star/WTHR poll conducted in November indicated that 61 percent of Indiana voters approved of the job Bayh he was doing, while only 24 percent

One source said Bayh could consider another bid for Indiana governor.

But he "hates the Senate (and) hates the left bloggers," said a friend of the senator who has also served as a longtime adviser. "They are getting their wish (of) pure Democrats in the minority."

A Democratic Party source told CNN that Bayh's announcement took national Democrats by surprise. The source added that Democratic Reps. Baron Hill and Brad Ellsworth and Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel may all consider making bids for the Democratic Senate nomination.

Bayh, a centrist Democrat, was considered a possible running mate for Obama in 2008. Bayh's father, Birch, served three terms in Senate.

- CNN's Mark Preston, Gloria Borger, John King, Paul Steinhauser, Alan Silverleib and Candy Crowley contributed to this report.

Updated: 2:35 p.m.

Filed under: 2010 • Evan Bayh • Indiana • Popular Posts
soundoff (167 Responses)
  1. Jimmy James

    Here come all the liberals crying " he wasn't a democrat anyway" They will resort to their name calling, a sure sign they have no substance to argue. The writing is on the wall. The "Change" Obama promised is coming in November.

    Obama had 1 year of complete control with a super majority and couldn't get anything done. He is shaping up to give Jimmy carter a run at the worst President. Reid is done. Pelosi will get re elected but will lose the speakers seat. The neutering of the left has begun. Bayh sees the liberals ruining the democratic party and wants to distance himself so he can run as a centrist in 2012. I would actually support this guy in 2012. He actually listens and sits in the middle.

    February 15, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  2. Boo

    Bye bye democrat party!

    February 15, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  3. in the middle

    Wow, look at the different parties throwing out names and blaming the other party for the world. That is why the US is in a mess. Congress needs to stop pointing fingers, stop being prisoners to bias against the other side, and set your pride down a little. Both sides need to take off their elephant and donkey boxing gloves and work together. That is why each party needs equal representation.

    February 15, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  4. $keptical

    His revolving door of "$ervice" will lead directly into a plush lobbying job in DC, no doubt.

    February 15, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  5. gr

    Great news for the Dems. I rather have a real Republicans then a Blue dog Democrate. I like to see all the Blue Dog Dems go!

    February 15, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  6. Proud member of Global Zero

    He has a job waiting, at Well Point. I know that he will have a great salary there. My premiums just went up 41%. What I want to know is, do they get to keep the insurance they have now when they leave office:? If so, sign me up. I can run for office, lie about what I stand for, then quit with benefits and a job lobbying for the Insurance Companies.

    February 15, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  7. akms

    The difference with the GOP and Dem Senate retirements is that the Dem seats are more vulnerable. The Dems have to be concerned by the latest polling in DE, AR, ND, NV, PA, CO, IL, WI, and CA. Coates is likely to be the front runner now in IN. NY and WA could also tighten. With that said, its early and the momentum could shift again; but the GOP considers control of the Senate to be in play this Fall.

    February 15, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  8. WatchfulEye

    Five will get you ten Bayh is going to write a book, do some public speaking engagements and continue to get his name out there so in 2012 he challenges Obama. Look at how much money Palin made. He'll do the same thing, sure as fate. The moderate Democrats in this country just cannot get behind this President, and he's abandoned them. Let's all remember there are way more moderates than liberals in the Democratic party. Bayh will even appeal to moderate/conservative Republicans if they can't produce a candidate of their own. You know things are rough when Patrick Kennedy won't seek re-election. There's going to be a clean sweep incumbents of both parties this November. Take it to the bank.

    February 15, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  9. Ethan

    I hope the Republican Party puts a ton of money into Dan Coats (Lobbyist – GoldmanSachs, UnitedHeath, Bank of America, PHrMA, etc).

    February 15, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  10. gr

    A Democratic source told CNN that Bayh was frustrated with the Senate's inability to work in a bipartisan manner. Another source added that the tipping point in his decision was the chamber's inability to approve a bipartisan deficit reduction commission. The source added that Bayh could consider another bid for Indiana governor.

    Bayh need to just become a Republicans.

    February 15, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  11. cg

    run Evan run ......but you can't hide!
    You now will be known as the guy who can't take the heat so left the kitchen .....

    Now maybe if all of the House and Senate just quit we might find some out there that can stand up and do what is right. Not just for themselves but the nation they said they wanted to serve in the first place . All these Repubs and Dems that are bailing out , were only in it for the glory!
    NOT for the people who they represented!
    We need to clean house regardless of which party they say they are from. They are all like toddlers fiighting over candy....

    February 15, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  12. c spurgeon

    Good Riddance. Didn't help Obama a bit and let his party down all the way. Just another quitter....

    February 15, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  13. doc

    I think they all should retire. If term limits were set, maybe they would not worry so much about getting re-elected and finally get something done.

    February 15, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  14. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Evan smells an opportunity. Watch out Barry. 😉

    February 15, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  15. Jon

    If ALL of these people in Congress were gone, would we even miss them??? I don't think so. Write in "NO ONE" for elected office on the next ballot. Save some money. It will just get the middle man out of the equation between us and the lobbyists.

    February 15, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. doolindalton

    Rather a weak-kneed response to the age-old problem of right wing, radical conservative obstructionism. If Hubert Humprey and James Pearson had given into the radical right wing in the 60's, civil rights legislation may never had seen the light of day.

    February 15, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  17. Albo58

    In history, there has never been an instance of a rat going down with a ship!

    February 15, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  18. Mike in MN

    I am hearing Bayh is especially discouraged by the partisan politics in Washington. While I am sure he includes Republicans as part of the partisan problem, he just recently said that if Obama and the Democrats still are not listening and don't get what voters are saying based on the overwhelming evidence in the polls and the Republican wins in Virginia, N.J. and Mass., they never will. I get the impression that Bayh has no interest in following his party leadership in going against the will of the people and does not feel that their approach is going to go well for either the Democrat party of our nation.

    February 15, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  19. StopWatch

    It is definitely time to scrap congress and start over with people who have new ideas. People who are willing to to put Country first–not just say country first.

    February 15, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  20. BB

    We do not need DINO's, we need real Democrats and we only need
    51 votes (Reconciliation) and we can get everything we want done...done. It's really that easy.
    If the Circus Elephant party wants to filibuster, let them. 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week, no breaks, none, nada, roll in the cots.

    February 15, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  21. New Age Independent


    "Yet he did not want to vote to help the American people and their health care including those in his state when it came to spending fractions of what we have spent in Iraq."

    It's this kind of simpleton mentality that is the problem. The two issues are not connected, nor can either be summed up in a sentence.

    Liberals have tossed around the term "Healthcare Reform" as if saying that will solve all their problems, and the term has the meaning to everyone. There are, and have been, numerous actions, which have plenty of bipartisan support, that Democrats could have passed that would improve health-care costs, but because they were individual items, they didn't want to go that route. They can't control the entire market that way. Instead, they want to throw massive spending bills and pork into one bill under the guise of "Healthcare Reform" and then claim that those who oppose it, don't want Americans to have any healthcare. it's just stupid and corrupt.

    Only now after a year of liberal greed and power struggles, and the attempt of shoving their "Reform" down American's throats, are they forced to deal with reality.

    February 15, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  22. Lynn

    First thing any politician does after winning an election is what??? Work to get reelected. They are always campaigning,for themselves and if there's time left over, just maybe work for their constituents. When they fear a loss is in their future, quit first.

    February 15, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  23. tt

    Does anyone other than myself think these Democratic Gov't officials are being paid off not to seek re-election?

    February 15, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  24. EC

    Blue Dog Democrats are worthless, they are nothing but cowards when it came to STEPPING UP and FIGHTING. Good Riddance.

    February 15, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  25. Matthew

    For every republican that voted for the wars...they should get on the ship and go fight, instead of sending our sons and daughters to bring them money and oil.

    For every republican that is obstructing giving healthcare to those who need it and are dying, what goes around comes around. You too will have sick children, a mother with cancer, or other deadly illnesses that will kill your family members because you could not afford to pay for it.

    Get out of Washington Republicans. GET OUT NOW.

    February 15, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
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