Tag Archives: Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN)

The Battle for the U.S. Senate: Will Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) Be The Man in the Arena?

Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), the Chairman of the House Republican Conference, now has to make the most difficult decision of his political career. Should he give up his safe Congressional seat and the number three position in the GOP leadership to challenge Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN)? Pence appears to have an bright future in the House of Representatives, but it is always difficult to turn down the glamour of the United States Senate. For example, Trent Lott (R-MS) was in line to be Speaker of the House, but left his number two position as the GOP Whip to successfully run for the Senate in 1988.
Bayh is a former two term Governor who is now completing his second term in the Senate. His father Birch Bayh (D-IN) served in the Senate from 1962 until he was defeated by Dan Quayle in 1980. Evan Bayh has won five statewide elections while Pence has never been tested at the state level.
Pence, 50, is understandably reluctant to give up a secure GOP Congressional seat. He was defeated by an incumbent in both 1988 and 1990 before finally winning an open seat in 2000. The Congressman would instantly achieve national fame if he knocked off Bayh, but a loss would mean this rising star would go back to obscurity of Columbus, Indiana. If he does run his campaign theme would almost certainly be “No More Bailouts,” which is a position he adopted during the Bush Administration.
Yesterday Pence attended a meeting at the National Republican Senatorial Committee where he was presented with the most recent polling data. The Congressman trails Senators Bayh by only a few percentage points, but all of the popular issues are on the side of the Republican. Bayh has always portrayed himself as a moderate, and is a former Chairman of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). He still points with pride to the $1.6 billion tax cut he implemented as Governor.
The problem is that he has been on Capitol Hill for 12 years and now it is difficult to run away from his voting record. His recent votes on the health-care legislation and the stimulus are particularly unpopular, and Bayh has been urging his party to move to the center.
A new book reveals that Barack Obama almost named Bayh as his 2008 running mate. Bayh still has a 50% approval rating, but between May and January his ratings dropped by nearly 25 points. The Senator’s biggest advantage is that he has $12.7 million in cash-on-hand, while Pence has just $463,000. President Obama won Indiana by 1%, and the state has voted Republican in 10 of the last 11 presidential elections.
Pence has to soon make a decision because the filing deadline is February 18th. He has already emerged as a champion for conservatives on a national scale. The Congressman previously served as Chairman of the conservative House Republican Study Committee. In 2003, when the House debated the Medicare prescription drug entitlement, Pence led a gang of House conservatives who valiantly opposed it. He said Republicans had lost their way by promoting big spending initiatives.
One of his best assets is that he is a former radio broadcaster and an excellent communicator. He is able to make persuasive and effective arguments. If Pence runs this will instantly become one of the top Senate races of the 2010 election cycle, and Pence would receive considerable fame if he emerges as the Democratic dragon slayer in Indiana.

Will Liberal Democrats Listen to the Message From Massachusetts? by Gregory Hilton

Republicans throughout the nation are thrilled with the victory of United States Senator-elect Scott Brown. Only 11% of Bay State voters are Republicans, and this seat has been in Democratic hands for 57 years. Brown will fill Ted Kennedy’s vacancy and be the first Republican in the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation.
No one is claiming the Bay State is turning Republican but voters did send a profound message. Democratic elected officials are asking themselves if they can not win in a state which they carried by 26 points in 2008, where in the world is it safe for a liberal to be a running for federal office in 2010?
Brown raised over $12 million online which a a new record for a Senate candidate. He raised about $1 million/day during the final week. In claiming victory at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel last night, Senator-elect Scott Brown (R-MA) said:
“I thought it was going to be me against the machine. I was wrong. It’s all of us against the machine. You have shown everyone now that you are the machine.” Predicting a cascade of election surprises throughout the nation, Brown said, “Let them take a look at what happened in Massachusetts. What happened here can happen all over the country. When there’s trouble in Massachusetts, there’s trouble everywhere, and they know it.”
If Democrats now moderate some of their views it would be a boost to their outlook in the 2010 election. There is a battle underway between liberal and moderate Democrats, and health care is now the focal point. The reactions of some prominent Democrats and journalists to Brown’s victory appear below:
Terry McAuliffe, former Chairman, Democratic National Committee, “This is a giant wake-up call. We have to do a much better job on the message. People are confused on what this health care bill is going to do.”
Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA): “It would only be fair and prudent that we now suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated.”
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI): “It’s probably back to the drawing board on health care, which is unfortunate.”
Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN): “Many of our people are in denial, but if you lose Massachusetts and that’s not a wake-up call, there’s no hope they will wake up. We can not have the furthest left elements of the Democratic Party attempting to impose their will on the rest of the country. . . Moderates and independents even in a state as Democratic as Massachusetts just aren’t buying our message. They just don’t believe the answers we are currently proposing are solving their problems. That’s something that has to be corrected.”
Mayor Thomas M. Menino (D-Boston): “I never thought I’d see the day when a Republican replaces Ted Kennedy. I think Scott Brown caught the wave of anger that’s out there, and the wave of anti-Obama.”
Former Mayor Raymond Flynn (D-Boston): revealed after the vote that he had supported Scott Brown. He said, “People feel like their vote is being taken granted with this powerful, one party state, and with one-party government in Washington. People want a little coalition, and a little respect… I don’t know how you regroup from something like this. There are going to be a lot of problems in the Democratic party from here on out.”
Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo (D-KY): who is running for an open U.S. Senate seat, “The President is especially unpopular in eastern Kentucky. An Obama visit would not help Democrats.”
Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA): “It is really time now for Democrats to shift their attention to issues that will enjoy broad public support.”
Rep. Allen Boyd (D-FL): “When it happens in Massachusetts, it really throws us a curve. It’s a big deal for a lot of members here.”
Politico: “Think back a year ago and imagine someone saying Obama would throw his support behind Democrats in New Jersey, Virginia and Ted Kennedy’s Massachusetts — and lose all of them. Think back a year ago and imagine someone saying he would celebrate his first anniversary without having gotten health care, financial regulation or energy legislation signed into law. And that less than 50 percent of the public would hold a favorable view of his presidency.”
The New York Post editorial entitled “Heck of a Job, Brownie!”: “This is the fifth time in three months that Obama has focused his star power to effect political and policy outcomes — losing each time. It didn’t work in Virginia and New Jersey, where he roller-skated in for Democratic gubernatorial candidates Creigh Deeds and JonCorzine last November. Or in Copenhagen, when he popped in to tout Chicago as host for the 2016 Olympics.
“Or in Copenhagen again, last month, at the global climate-change conference. And now this. . . Brown won. Coakley lost. But, obviously, so did Obama. Here’s hoping the president understands why.”
The New York Times: “What happened in Massachusetts on Tuesday was no ordinary special election. Scott Brown shocked and arguably humiliated the White House and the Democratic Party establishment. . . States do not come more Democratic than Massachusetts, the only one that voted for George McGovern over Richard Nixon in 1972. . . Most ominously, independent voters seemed to have fled to Mr. Brown in Massachusetts, as they did to Republicans in races for governor in Virginia and New Jersey last November. It is hard not to view that as a repudiation of the way Mr. Obama and Democratic Congressional leaders have run things.”
The Los Angeles Times: “The Democratic Party’s defeat in Massachusetts on Tuesday — the loss of a single, crucial Senate seat — will force President Obama and his congressional allies to downscale their legislative ambitions and rethink their political strategy.”
Dr. Stuart Rothenberg, GOP political analyst, “This is the biggest political upset of my adult life.”
I am also wonder if some prominent Democrats will now retract some of their comments about the moderate Brown. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called Brown a “far-right tea-bagger,” Chris Dodd (D-CT) said he was a”right-wing radical,” and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) claimed he had “right-wing views” and “radical record.”