February 19th, 2010
11:44 AM ET
12 years ago

Ellsworth to run for Bayh's senate seat

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/19/art.ellsworth.jpg caption="Rep. Brad Ellsworth of Indiana will announce Friday that he's decided to make a bid for the seat now held by retiring Sen. Evan Bayh."]Washington (CNN) - Rep. Brad Ellsworth of Indiana will announce Friday that he's decided to make a bid for the seat now held by retiring Sen. Evan Bayh, a Democratic party source tells CNN.

Bayh delivered a major blow Monday to the Democratic Party, when he announced that he would not run for a third term this November.

Ellsworth, first elected in 2006, represents Indiana's eighth congressional district, which is located in the southwest part of the state. The former county sheriff won 61 percent of the vote in his first election, and grabbed 65 percent in his 2008 re-election. Ellsworth, 51, is telegenic and has a moderate voting record that will help him in a swing state like Indiana.

Ellsworth's announcement that he will run for Bayh's seat appears to be major coup for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which was hunting for a strong candidate to defend the seat. The move could also put the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in a bind, as they will most likely now have to defend an another open seat in the House of Representatives. Ellsworth's district went for John McCain by 4 points in the 2008 presidential election and President Bush won the district by 24 points in 2004.

The Indiana Democratic Party's Central Committee will select the party's senate candidate, since no candidate filed the needed signatures to qualify for the primary ballot. The committee must wait until after the May 4 primary to select their candidate. Other state Democrats may be considering a run for Bayh's seat, although Ellsworth is the first to announce.

Bayh's unexpected announcement 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.

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.

The story was first reported nationally by the Washington Post.

CNN's Robert Yoon contributed to this report

Filed under: Brad Ellsworth • Evan Bayh
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Republiklan Taliban Victim

    Best news of the year Evan Bayh is retiring to go work as a lobbyist. Ellsworth sounds like a good fit but John Cougar Melankamp seems like more of a real Dem.

    February 19, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. katiec

    CNN, you keep saying that Bayhs deciding to retire is a blow to the Democratic Party, It is not. Bayh did not represent us Democrats and, with his wifes ties to insurance companies he would not have voted for Health Care Reform. He is a big business politician and more republican than he ever was for what the Democrats believe in and fight for.
    They will find someone who truly represents the American people.

    February 19, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. SocialismBad

    WOW!! This is GREAT news! This guy will get trounced in the Senate campaign AND lose his house seat! You gotta love those 2for1 deals!!

    So this guy expects Indiana to put another person, JUST LIKE BAYH, in the Senate so he can be as frustrated and ineffective as Bayh was??? Typical Democratic logic....

    February 19, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  4. MatthewDetroit

    BAYH did not give a big Blow to the Democrat Party.

    What he did was HELP the Democrat party Immensely.

    His timing was Perfect.

    Because of the timing ANY democrat can now enter the race.

    Instead of the restaurant owner who did not have a chance.

    BAYH was chased out of office by his own Party. The Dems buried him.

    February 19, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  5. GI Joe

    I'll vote for him – I'll vote for anyone that is a moderate.

    The radicals (like we heard at CPAC calling for smashing, fearing, hating), should not be anywhere near DC. That's what was wrong with our country for 8 years. Hate and fear and "bearing false witness" against citizens and other countries alike has no place in our lives.

    February 19, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  6. Tom

    I feel bad for this guy, he is going to try and save a ship that is already sunk. Bayh retired because he is being forced to go along with Obama's failed and failing policies, rather than be beat by the voters, it is easier to save his political career by separating himself from Obama as fast as he can!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 19, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  7. Who said the Mayans were wrong?

    Mellencamp could beat any and all,he loves his state and his country and doesnt need the bag money.

    February 19, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  8. Connie, Indiana

    yeap, here in southern Indiana, they are already trashing Brad Ellsworth...I would also comment that John (the constitution man) Hostetler is also put his hat in the ring..some think that he sits on the right side of God, his agenda is religion. I checked out his voting record and it wasn't surprising where he stood...he is also the one who sat in Washington for 12 yrs and did nothing when the country was in free fall..He was elected the first time under "term limits" and course after he was elected he changed his tune..so this is the kind of candidates that are also running, a lobbyist, a man who sat in Washington and now wants to return to do the same thing he did before..

    February 19, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  9. c spurgeon

    Sounds good. Lets hear more about him.

    February 19, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  10. Gregory

    Let's go John Mellencamp. Let's get someone in who has a brain, talent, and cares about people. He fwas one of the founders of Farm Aid. That tells you right there he has the right agenda and the organizational skills.

    February 19, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |

    Throw up an independent who is fiscally conservative and he/she will win in a walk.

    February 19, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |