Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Evan Bayh for Governor in 2012?

It's a possibility and it wouldn't surprise me. Evan Bayh has always been an executive at heart.
When Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) announced his retirement from the Senate Feb. 15, the life-long public official gave few hints as to what he'd do next. But a knowledgeable D.C. Democratic source tells me Bayh's intentions are clear to national Democrats: in 2012, he's planning to leverage the independent, outsider cred he's accrued in the wake of his retirement to run for his old job as Indiana's Governor.

Bayh's office told me today that Bayh "has made no decisions about what he might do when he completes his term in the Senate." But national Democrats in Washington say they expect him to return to politics by running for the job that first launched him onto the national stage.[...]

By then, the still-youthful-looking Bayh will be 56, far more seasoned than he was when he first ran for governor in '88. But my source said Democrats expect Bayh will run again as a fresh, independent voice, willing to go his own way when he has to. He set himself up for that message in his retirement address, where he attacked the current partisanship in the Senate as beyond the pale. The speech garnered Bayh public accolades from mainstream commentators and gave Bayh the reputation as a man who tells it like it is.

Bayh can likely leverage that into a run as an anti-establishment independent in reddish-purple Indiana. But obviously, there's a long way to go between now and then, and Bayh faces a crucial test with state Democrats this November before he can ask for their vote in 2012. When he dropped out of this year's Senate race, Bayh was ahead -- a ray of sunshine in a year that's not looking to bright for Democrats. Some state Democrats who were shocked and saddened when he dropped out, and worried that he was going to hand his seat to the GOP.[...]

Bayh may have given his plans away earlier in the retirement speech -- before all the talk of private citizenship and working at a non-profit.

"I am an executive at heart," he said.

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