[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/15/art.bayh.file.gi.jpg caption="Senator Evan Bayh announced Monday that he would not seek another term, leaving Democrats without a candidate in Indiana."]Washington (CNN) - It looks like Democrats have avoided a big headache in Indiana.
Tamyra d'Ippolito, the Bloomington restaurant owner who claimed to be nearing the required amount of signatures to make her the de facto Democratic nominee for Senate in Indiana, appears to have fallen short in her bid to get on the primary ballot.
To get on the ballot, a candidate must have submitted at least 4,500 signatures by noon Tuesday, with at least 500 coming from each of Indiana's nine congressional districts.
But Terry Burns, a Democratic official with the Marion County Board of Voters, said d'Ippolito only submitted three signatures Tuesday to the county clerk's office (The entire seventh district is in Marion County). Burns noted that one of her signatures came from the state's 5th district.
"She fell 498 signatures short in the seventh district," Burns told CNN.
D'Ippolito, who has never run for office before, had been organizing a long-shot challenge to Sen. Evan Bayh before he announced his retirement Monday. Had she submitted the necessary paperwork by Tuesday's deadline, she would have been the only Democrat in the state to do so, making her the party's nominee for Senate. That prospect became something of a nightmare scenario over the last 24 hours for Democrats in Washington and Indiana, who are looking to recruit a top-tier candidate to run in Bayh's place.
Now, state Democratic Party officials have until June 30 to confer and select a nominee. Indiana Reps. Brad Ellsworth and Baron Hill are mentioned as possible nominees, along with Evansville mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel.
Meanwhile, Sen. John Corynyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, called on Indiana Democrats to extend the filing deadline, which would give potential Democratic candidates time to canvass the state for signatures.
"Doing so would remove any appearance of unfair gamesmanship by the Democrats while affirming their belief that voters, and not party bosses, should be the final arbiters of elections," Cornyn said in a statement released by the NRSC Tuesday.