Washington (CNN) - Indiana Democratic Rep. Brad Ellsworth signaled Monday that he's considering a bid to replace Sen. Evan Bayh, who announced he will not run for a third term.
Shortly after Bayh's press conference ended in Indianapolis, Ellsworth released a written statement saying Democrats in his southwest Indiana district are already encouraging him to jump into the statewide race.
"The next step will be taking a few days to talk to my wife and to folks in Indiana about where I can best serve our state. In the meanwhile, I will continue to travel throughout the 8th District this week listening to Hoosiers about the challenges they face and their ideas for getting our economy back on track," Ellsworth said.
A former sheriff, Ellsworth beat Republican Rep. John Hostettler in 2006. Hostettler held the seat for six terms. The district was nicknamed "the bloody eighth" because of its history of incumbents losing in bruising contests. But in 2008, Ellsworth won re-election easily with 65% of the vote.
Ellsworth is a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition. He elevated his profile during the health care debate last fall, joining a group of anti-abortion rights advocates pressing for more restrictive language on abortion coverage in the House passed health care reform bill.
Another Indiana House Democrat, Baron Hill, who represents the district adjacent to Ellsworth's, could also take a look at the Senate race. But Hill is out of the country this week visiting U.S. troops. His spokeswoman had no comment.