February 16th, 2010
08:43 AM ET
8 years ago

Bayh: Not leaving Democrats in the lurch


Washington (CNN) - Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh says his decision to retire at the end of the year rather than run for re-election has not left his party in a bind.

"The party hasn't been left in the lurch. We have a real shot of winning this election and having a good senator follow me in the United States Senate. And I'm going to help that individual very vigorously," Bayh said Tuesday on CNN's American Morning.

The two-term senator's unexpected announcement Monday gives national Republicans one of their best opportunities to takeover a Democratic seat, according to independent analyses from two leading non-partisan political handicappers. The Cook Political Report revised its rating for the Indiana contest to "Leans Republican" shortly after news of Bayh's decision broke. The race had previously been rated "Leans Democratic." The Rothenberg Political Report modified its rating from a "narrow advantage" for Democrats to "toss-up," meaning the race could go either way.

But Bayh says he's confident the Democrats will be competive in the contest.

"I do think we have a strong chance of being successful this fall. We've got several congressmen who are considering this race, some other substantial figures who are considering this race. The republican party has a five-way primary, five way. I mean, they're going to be very divided before this is over. We have a chance to focus on the fall campaign. I think our candidate will start off with a monetary advantage. Indiana's a challenging state. But if we nominate the right person, i think we've got a real shot," Bayh told American Morning anchors John Roberts and Kiran Chetry.

Both Cook and Rothenberg had Bayh as a lock for re-election until the announcement earlier this month that former Republican Sen. Dan Coats, who once held Bayh's seat, was mulling a challenge. According to Cook and Rothenberg, a Bayh-Coats match-up would have been competitive, with a slight advantage for Bayh as the incumbent.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: Evan Bayh
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Andy

    Leave in a lurch,they are fixing to implode and I love it.Dems are leaving the SS Obamie like rats leaving a burning bale of hay.The true party of NO NO jobs NO hope NO truth NO plan NO improvement NO Accountability Just a complete party of NOTHING

    February 16, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  2. gary

    The dimocrats are probably scratching their heads 'big time' about this one. One more pickup for the pubs.

    February 16, 2010 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  3. david

    We cannot blame Obama, or even Bush for gridlock. It does not matter which party is in power, the president does not make the laws, Congress does. If the president is the parent, and Senators are the kids, I think most parents understand that when your kids simply refuse to obey or to play together nicely, you put them in a time-out or some other interdiction. However, the president cannot do this. So when Congress cannot control their own processes, it appears the next best thing is to do when frustrated with your peers is to do what Sarah Palin did: quit.

    Bayh can now say whatever he wants, but it is ironic that he calls for change, but is no longer in any position to enact it. He could not effect change when in Congress, and he sure won;t be able to do anything now that hes out. Better to quit than to be voted out, right Evan?

    February 16, 2010 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  4. Cayce

    This is great news,get out before election or be voted out.The Dems ship is taking on water and will be the next Titanic.Hey guys,I thought your messiah(Obamie) whipped the 140 Repubs on Fox,guess that was just another of your ill fated thoughts and visions of grandure.BYE BYE MORONS Maybe the telepromter should read 1 and done.

    February 16, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  5. Goo1155

    I'm really sorry to see Senator Bayh leave office. It's people who are fed up with the partisan politics who SHOULD be in office and who are the ones who can and should overhaul the entire system. His departure is not just a loss for congress, but a loss for the American people.

    February 16, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  6. Doug,lib jersey

    Many CNN libs keep crying about the Republicans, its all their fault that Obama couldn't advance his hate Americans socialist agenda.

    I suggest that each lib enroll in a night school math class and at least learn how to count to 60. thanks

    February 16, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  7. S Callahan

    We have been briefed that the 'stimulus' was just a front and is really not working, I'm getting out for the the rage of America flares.
    We can't profit on global warming any longer because the American people took the time to find the truth.
    We are being threatened to pass health care as is despite the American people objecting to the way it is.
    The list can go on and on......

    Taking the easy road out...

    February 16, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  8. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Bayh should have run for re-election. I can understand his frustration. I just wish that he had put some more thought into this and tried to work more to get people to pull together.

    February 16, 2010 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  9. The Real Issue

    My Fellow Americans,

    Senator Bayh has every right to retire and we are glad he did. He has produced very little legislation of importance and has virtually held a seat left by his distinguished father. My Fellow Americans and Indiana citizens, do not believe the excuse of the dear Senator. He knew he had a race coming and this tells you about this individual who was considered for the Vice Presidential position a short while ago. Fortunately, the president did not select him and this is probably why....his record is average at best, his commitment he announced and his loyalty to his party is suspect!!

    February 16, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  10. Brian L

    Bayh needs to be truthful him and the other blue dogs thought it would be more fun to try to get as much out of congress as possible for their votes..... now they finally realized the DEMS are not happy with them and the Republicans would rather eat their own than vote for a DEM so they have no more friends left....... was it worth it? You should have worked with the DEMS to better this country rather than be selfish!

    February 16, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  11. El Gordo

    The assumption is that the political system isn't working, but that is not true. They system is working exactly the way America's Conservative leadership wants it to. The government is doing nothing to solve America's problems – BECAUSE Conservative Republicans and Conservative Democrats are blocking all action of any kind by parliamentary maneuvers. Why would they do this?

    Conservatism wants Americans to give up on government because government is the only power that can confront and control global corporations. Global corporations do not care whether Americans are happy, whether our children are healthy, whether our borders are secure, etc. To them, we are like livestock is to a rancher. As we all know, ranchers don't care much if their livestock is happy.

    February 16, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  12. Tim from Tampa

    At least he didn't pull a "Palin" & quit in the middle of his term.

    February 16, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  13. Sue

    Thank you for expressing the feelings of the vast majority of pragmatic Americans, Senator Bayh! I wish more moderates in Congress would stand up with some personal integrity against the fringe elements on both sides. You are correct...we Independent voters need to kick all the ideaologues out of office ASAP. I want to begin with all the old, white men who have been there WAY TOO long!

    February 16, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  14. jules sand-perkins

    If the Democrats had followed the rational thinking of members like Senator Bayh instead of the socialistic extremes of President Obama, Pelosi, and Reid, they would not be in the election posture that they are now. In fact, they might have defeated Senator Brown in Massachusett(e)s, even with a weak candidate.

    February 16, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  15. johnrj08

    Bayh is a smarmy, spineless little coward who couldn't handle the pressure that was being put on him in the Senate. He was one of the reasons that we still have no health care reform.

    February 16, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  16. Observant

    All rats desert a sinking ship. It is the writing on the wall. I don't think that the Republicans are going to pick up the vacated Democrats seat, I believe as an Independent that this is the beginning of an era. Americans want responsible people in office. Out with the Democrats and the Republicans, lets put individuals that are responsible in..new political party on the horizon. TEA PARTY NEED NOT APPLY. No personal agenda's allowed, just the voice of the people.

    February 16, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  17. It has begun-

    Bayh voted in lock step with the crappy policies of this horrible Admin. He knows if he want a chance to run for President he has to distance himself for this Congress & President.

    I'm just wondering if he was so concern about the political climate, spending, and the ineffectiveness of Congress, why did he went along with the Dems with the stimulus, bailouts of car companies and the healthcare bill? All horrible legislation that he supported with his vote, with the filibuster proof majority the Dems have and basically going along with the Dems & giving Republicans the middle finger?

    He and is Dem collegueas created this partisan climate because they did not need the Republicans to pass a single Bill, until now. Yet the Democrats could get nothing done!!! So blame the "party of NO" all you want but Dems control everything and did not needed the Republicans to pass or get anything done for the pass year & 3mths!!

    Yep they are dropping like flies!!! People are angry & their voices will be heard come November.

    February 16, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  18. File under "Sarcasm"

    Hmmm, not left in the lurch, when he drops out 4 days before the primary filing deadline which means no Democrat will be able to get enough signature petitions to file in time. I understand to get around that law, he'll have to resign so a replacement can be named and bypass the primary. Cute trick to deprive the people of a choice.

    I wonder if the final straw for Bayh was Prince Harry gutting the jobs bill that Bayh worked on, without telling anyone until the last moment. An obvious political ploy to try to blame the Republicans for the Democrat gridlock.

    February 16, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  19. Roger

    I think Senator Bayh made the right decision. I also wish Senator's Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Joe Lieberman, Max Bacus, Harry Reid, & Blanche Lincoln would all retire. I am a democrat but when the leader of the Senate sells out to members of the democratic party or those who caucus with them on a health care bill in the political climate & the state of the economy that we are in they all need to go....I feel they ripped the american people off big time...especially Ben Nelson & Mary Landrieu who were holding out because they were so CONSERVATIVE yet they were only making a selfish deal....It is bad enough that we have the republican who are hypocrites & selfish & say NO to everything but it is worse when the Dems can not govern...

    February 16, 2010 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  20. James B

    Glad to see someone is pissed at the system. My only concern is that he claims he is doing this for the people. If so why would he abandoned them now. Why not fight for reform ? We as a nation have got to stop this infighting and settle our disagreements. Do we want to be like Iran, Iraq, Russia and be under a dictatorship ? Seems like we are heading there. And lets not blame the past or current administrations. It's the senators and congresmen and woman on both sides of the floor that are fighting and not doing what we elected them to do and that is to govern

    February 16, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  21. MsDp

    Hmmm, I'll believe this " The party hasn't been left in the lurch. We have a real shot of winning this election and having a good senator follow me in the United States Senate. And I'm going to help that individual very vigorously," when I see it. Bayn has always voted with and for the GOP's agenda. It would not surprise me if this is a political ploy to assist his buddies (the GOP)!

    February 16, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  22. WorkingClass

    It is a shame to see another moderate go. Even less will be accomplished now... if that's possible.

    February 16, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  23. goshtasp

    Amen senator. You said it. This is all about what Americans decide and want for their future. We are are dying of a "death by a thousand cuts".


    February 16, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  24. ran

    Good . Now maybe we will get either a true Democrat or an Independent to take his place.

    My hope is the great people of IN. will not fall for the fear/hate/obstructionist/purity Republicans like the ill informed voters of MA.

    We have a real chance to get our country back in 2010 by getting ride of all the fear/hate/obstructionist/purity Republicans and the likes of blue dogs and Lieberman types.

    February 16, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  25. Bud Osborne

    I can't blame Senator Bayh., for a long time The beltway boys and girls have done nothing. They care more about their parties and listen more to lobbyist than the American people. We do not have an endless amount of money, and more taxes are not the answer., yes health care needs fixing ,social security,war needs to cease,I really got mad when Cheney came taking credit for Iraq, when we should have not have been there to begin with. Please Republicans stop listening to all the half truths coming from Fox, and worst scenerios, ( half truths are lies). Wake up republicans, Glenn and Rush they're con men, all they care about are ratings and their paychecks. Wake up Americans and vote them all out, or all of us are in for a world of hurt. your fellow American

    February 16, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
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