The beleaguered Democratic party took another hit today. Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, who had already begun his re-election campaign, revealed he will be stepping down after his second term in Congress. His surprising departure opens up a seat that could potentially be picked up by the Republicans.
Bayh, who was one of the leading candidates for President Obama’s running mate in 2008, expressed frustration at a press conference held this afternoon about the inefficiency of Congress:
“For some time, I have had a growing conviction that Congress is not operating as it should,” he said. “There is much too much partisanship and not enough progress. Too much narrow ideology and not enough practical problem solving.”
Two other high-profile Democratic senators - Connecticut’s Christopher Dodd and North Dakota’s Byron Dorgan - announced last month they would not be seeking re-election. Both were facing the prospect of running against viable Republican challengers.
Democrats hoping to take Bayh’s place may have to pull all-nighters tonight: the deadline for those wishing to enter the Democratic primaries for the Indiana senatorial race (for which a petition of at least 4,500 signatures is required) is tomorrow at noon.
Bayh Decides Against Re-election Bid [The Caucus]
Democratic Senator Evan Bayh Retiring: ‘I Do Not Love Congress’ [ABC News]