News From Terre Haute, Indiana

State News

July 8, 2014

Former governor Bayh weighs decision to run again

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Evan Bayh is keeping Indiana Democrats on hold.

Party loyalists longing for a political savior to retake the governor's office have been waiting on Bayh ever since he abruptly decided to leave the U.S. Senate and political life three years ago.

For now, it appears, they'll just have to keep waiting.

Despite a hefty campaign war chest and deep nostalgia for his days as a popular centrist Democrat, Bayh says he needs more time to decide whether he'll try to recapture his old job.

“I think it's less likely than more likely,” he said. “I haven't ruled it out.”

Bayh cited family as the reason for delay, during a recent interview in the Washington D.C. offices of McGuireWoods, a law and lobbying firm he joined when he left the Senate. He's been busy advising the firm's banking and energy clients, in addition to his work with a New York private equity firm, Apollo Global Management, and with stint as a Fox News contributor.

His twin sons, born during the second of his two terms as governor, are headed off to college this fall. Once they're settled, Bayh said he and his wife, Susan, will have time for a serious conversation about his next steps.

 “I will confess, I'm indulging myself,” said Bayh, 58, who appears to have aged well since he was elected as the nation's youngest governor at 32.  “My sons are leaving home soon, and I'm trying to be with them as much as I can, because I love them and I'm going to miss them.”

Bayh's indulgence may be trying the patience of state party leaders. While they're focused on state races this November, and mayoral races next year, they're already talking about the 2016 gubernatorial race.

“They really can't wait too much longer for him to decide,” said longtime political scientist Ray Scheele, co-director of the Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University.

Money is a prime reason. The last time a challenger tried to oust an incumbent governor in Indiana - when Republican Mitch Daniels beat incumbent Democrat Joe Kernan in 2004 - the campaigns spent more than $31 million combined.

Rampant speculation that first-term Republican Gov. Mike Pence is flirting with a presidential bid, combined with the fact that the conservative Pence only won 49 percent of the vote in 2012, is fueling Democrats' desire to find a winning candidate who can work the kind of magic that Bayh once did.

The son of longtime U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh, a liberal Democrat, the more conservative Evan took office in January 1989, after 20 years of Republican governors. After two terms, when he went on to run for Senate, he left a legacy of a centrist governor who actively courted the middle.

He was dubbed, with affection and disdain, a “Republicrat.” As governor, Bayh funneled more money into education, reformed welfare, cut the state workforce and didn't raise taxes. He left the state with a robust economy, low unemployment and a record budget surplus.

Bayh said he loved being governor. It gave him an opportunity, he said, to implement policies and programs that bettered Hoosiers' lives.

Everything else about the office is “an illusion,” he said.

“If you had a magic wand to make me chief executive officer of the state, I’d take it because of the opportunity to help people,” he said. “But that’s not how it works.”

Bayh's affection for the job was returned by voters. He won re-election by the largest margin of any governor in modern state history.  Term-limited, he ran for an open Senate seat in 1998 and won 64 percent of the vote. In 2004, when Indiana went for Republican George W. Bush with 60 percent of the vote, the Democrat Bayh won his seat again with 62 percent support.

Scheele recalls how Bayh left the governor's office in 1997 with an 80 percent approval rate - a remarkable feat a state that hadn't voted for a Democratic presidential nominee since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

“Evan knew how to energize people and get them to believe in his message,” Scheele said. “He'd still be a popular candidate.”

Bayh isn't so sure. Among many factors he says he must consider is a changed political landscape.

When Bayh decided not to run for a third Senate term in early 2010, he bemoaned Congress' dysfunction. He said he fears the climate is only getting worse. He cites a recent Pew Research Center survey that found Americans more divided politically, and hardened in positions that make them less likely to favor compromise.

“What used to be viewed as an act of statesmanship now increasingly is viewed as an act of betrayal by the bases of both parties,” he said.

When Bayh was governor, Democrats still played a critical role in the General Assembly, with the power to influence legislation. That's not so now. Republicans have super-majorities in both the state House and Senate. After Republicans' 2010 sweep, they controlled the redistricting process and drew lines to favor their candidates for years to come.

“For Hoosier Democrats, who need to reach out to moderates and thoughtful conservatives, it's a much tougher challenge than for Republicans, who tend to more often than not just have to appeal to their conservative base,” Bayh said.

John Zody, head of the Indiana Democrat Party, is gracious when talking about Bayh. He calls him “a popular governor and Senator” who still has the affection of voters. Party loyalists are grateful for Bayh's legacy, he said, and will honor whatever decision he makes.

But some Democrats may have difficulty forgiving Bayh for his departure from the 2010 Senate race. He decided against seeking a third term just days before the filing deadline, leaving party leaders scrambling for a new candidate. The seat went to a Republican, Sen. Dan Coats, as part of a midterm sweep by GOP candidates. On election night, party activists in Indianapolis booed Bayh.

Some in the party resent the fact that Bayh's since been sitting on almost $10 million in a dormant campaign account. That resentment has been noted by Republicans, including political strategist Pete Seat, former spokesman for the state GOP.

“It's interesting you describe him as keeping Democrats on hold,” Seat said. “I wonder if they're still on the other line, or if they've hung up on him.”

Seat called Bayh's surplus campaign funds a “formidable amount” that would give any opponent pause. But Seat also questions whether young voters and those new to the state, would fall so easily under the Bayh spell. “There are thousands upon thousands of voters who have no recollection on Evan Bayh's governorship,” Seat said.

Bayh disputes criticism that he hasn't done enough to promote Indiana candidates since leaving the Senate. He noted he's doled out $2 million over the last four years to Democratic candidates.

“No one been more generous than me,” he said.

So if not the Indiana governor's race, what else?

Longtime political observers, including Scheele and Seat, note that Bayh may have larger ambitions. In 2008, he weighed a presidential bid before dropping out of consideration. There was speculation that he'd become then-Democratic nominee Barack Obama's running mate.

Scheele says Bayh's strong ties to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could also influence his decision, if she decides to run on the Democratic ticket. Scheele thinks Bayh could be on Clinton's list for the number-two spot or for a cabinet post.

Bayh isn't publicly entertaining that kind of speculation.

“Public service is part of my DNA and part of my family's heritage, which I cherish,” he said. “But there are a lot of different ways to help other people than running for public office.”

Maureen Hayden covers the state for CNHI newspapers in Indiana, including the Tribune-Star. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaureenHayden.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State News
  • Indiana chooses 5 counties for preschool program

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s three most populous counties are among five chosen for a pilot program that will allow low-income children in those areas to attend preschool as early as next year.

    July 22, 2014

  • More cases of chikungunya confirmed in Indiana

    INDIANAPOLIS — Six more Hoosiers have tested positive for the chikungunya virus, making a total of seven reported cases in the state. The majority of individuals have confirmed travel to the Caribbean, including four teens who were recently on mission trips to the area.

    July 17, 2014

  • Judge orders Indiana BMV to resume selling plates

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A Marion County judge has ordered the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles to resume issuing personalized license plates, but that doesn’t mean the agency will start doing so anytime soon.

    July 16, 2014

  • State reports budget surplus, $2 billion in reserves

    INDIANAPOLIS — As expected, the state closed its fiscal year with a budget surplus, due largely to spending cuts forced by Gov. Mike Pence.

    July 14, 2014

  • U.S. Attorney Hogsett announces resignation

    INDIANAPOLIS – Joseph H. Hogsett, the United States Attorney, announced in a news release today his resignation from office, effective July 31, 2014.

    July 14, 2014

  • State reports West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes

    INDIANAPOLIS — State health officials confirmed the first signs of West Nile virus activity in Indiana for 2014. Mosquitoes in Marshall and Pike counties have tested positive for West Nile virus. There have been no reported cases of West Nile virus in humans in the state this year.

    July 9, 2014

  • Pence orders memorials for officers who died

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has declared this week an official period of mourning after the loss of three law enforcement officers in the line of duty over eight days.

    July 8, 2014

  • 051713 BAYH SMILE.jpg Former governor Bayh weighs decision to run again

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Evan Bayh is keeping Indiana Democrats on hold.
    Party loyalists longing for a political savior to retake the governor's office have been waiting on Bayh ever since he abruptly decided to leave the U.S. Senate and political life three years ago.

    July 8, 2014 3 Photos

  • Deal set in ex-schools chief Bennett’s ethics case

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s State Ethics Commission is considering a settlement in the ethics case against former state schools Superintendent Tony Bennett.

    July 7, 2014

  • Lawmakers returning for ’corrections’ day

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — State lawmakers are returning to Indianapolis for a day to fix critical mistakes left in the criminal sentencing overhaul legislation approved earlier this year.

    June 16, 2014

  • Constitutional convention backers meet in Indiana

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — About 100 lawmakers from 33 states are expected to gather at the Indiana Statehouse for discussions about how to call the first constitutional convention since the nation’s founding.

    June 12, 2014

  • Dickson stepping down as Indiana’s chief justice

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Dickson is stepping down from that role but will remain as an associate justice.

    June 11, 2014

  • 10-digit dialing in 812 area code soon mandatory

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana utility officials say 10-digit dialing in southern Indiana’s 812 area code will become mandatory in September.

    June 11, 2014

  • Audit: Nearly 275 in Indiana await 1st VA visit

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An audit of VA hospitals and clinics nationwide has found that nearly 275 Indiana patients are still waiting for initial appointments at facilities in Indianapolis and northern Indiana 90 days or more after requesting them.

    June 9, 2014

  • Jackpot growth slowing down for Hoosier Lotto

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — State lottery officials are blaming a big drop in ticket sales for a decision to slash the rate at which Hoosier Lotto jackpots grow.

    June 6, 2014

  • Our view: Throw open the doors

    As allegations and scandals continue to explode about hidden wait lists and cooked books at VA medical care facilities across the country, with hints of even more heinous findings to come, we have to wonder why it's business as usual in our nation's

    May 29, 2014

  • Indiana’s 4 largest cities see population surges

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — A new report by an Indiana University research group says Indiana’s four largest cities are in the midst of some big population increases.

    May 22, 2014

  • Appeals court: Students can sue over school attack

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Court of Appeals says two students hurt in a school shooting can sue the school district over their injuries.

    May 20, 2014

  • State health commissioner urges hepatitis testing

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s health commissioner is urging Hoosiers to educate themselves about the dangers of viral hepatitis and to get tested for the disease.

    May 19, 2014

  • Zoeller: Robocall complaints are down in Indiana

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says his office is receiving almost half as many complaints a month about robocalls as it did two years ago, but says there’s more work to be done.

    May 19, 2014

  • High court to hear appeal of right-to-work law

    MUNSTER, Ind. (AP) — The Indiana Supreme Court will hear arguments in September on Indiana’s appeal of a judge’s ruling declaring the state’s right-to-work law unconstitutional.

    May 9, 2014

  • Judge: Indiana must still recognize 1 gay marriage

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The state of Indiana must recognize a lesbian couple’s out-of-state marriage throughout their legal fight to have one of the women named as a spouse on her terminally ill partner’s death certificate, a judge ruled today. The Indiana attorney general’s office said it would appeal.

    May 8, 2014

  • Judge says Indiana BMV wrongly pulled ‘0INK’ plate

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A police officer has the right to buy a vanity license plate reading “0INK,” an Indiana judge has said in a ruling that extends far beyond one plate.

    May 8, 2014

  • Zoeller: Let legislatures choose Senate candidates

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — U.S. Senate candidates in Indiana would be nominated by the General Assembly instead of selected by voters in a primary if the state’s top legal officer has his way.

    May 5, 2014

  • Indiana, CDC push for more infant vaccinations

    AVON, Ind. (AP) — State and national health officials are pushing for parents to vaccinate their infants on time in the face of measles outbreaks.

    April 30, 2014

  • Painted bison to celebrate Indiana bicentennial

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Painted bison sculptures and quilted gardens are set to pop up in honor of Indiana’s bicentennial celebration.

    April 30, 2014

  • Indiana court upholds dismissal of ethics charges

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld a judge’s decision to dismiss misconduct charges against the state’s former top utility regulator.

    April 29, 2014

  • Board approves Indiana’s Common Core replacement

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The State Board of Education has approved new math and English standards to replace the Common Core benchmarks in Indiana’s classrooms this fall.

    April 28, 2014

  • FEMA OKs aid for Vigo County

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved disaster aid for 19 Indiana counties hit by a January storm that brought paralyzing snow and frigid readings.

    April 22, 2014

  • Judge: Indiana lacks valid gay marriage ban reason

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge says attorneys defending Indiana’s gay marriage ban haven’t shown any good reason to not recognize the marriage of a lesbian couple, one of whom has a terminal illness.

    April 21, 2014

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best
NDN Video
LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB'
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity