IBJNews

Democrats look to rebuild after Republican gains

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Indiana Democrats who saw their gains over the last four years wash away in a tidal wave of Republican victories are looking for a life preserver heading toward 2012. And their best hope might rest with the man some blame in part for at least one of the party's losses: retiring Sen. Evan Bayh.

Republicans celebrated a great night in Indiana on Tuesday as they won Bayh's U.S. Senate seat, two U.S. House seats and control of the state House. Democrats will have no control in Indiana state government, with all statewide offices and the General Assembly firmly in Republican hands.

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker said Democrats need to keep fighting for their principles and "then go out and make a case to the voters." Their first big chance at a new pitch to voters will be in 2012, when the governor's office will be up for grabs as term-limited Republican Mitch Daniels will be leaving.

"The pendulum seems to swing back and forth," Parker said.

Rebuilding will be difficult for Indiana Democrats, especially since Republicans will control redistricting next year that will help determine congressional and legislative election outcomes for the next decade.

"The Democrats are really in trouble for a long time," said Ray Scheele, a political science professor at Ball State University. "The wildcard is what Sen. Evan Bayh will do."

Bayh is a centrist who ended his second term as governor in 1997 with a huge budget surplus and an approval rating near 80 percent. He has said he's thought about a possible run at a third term as governor, but that he won't begin to think seriously about his future until Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Not every Democrat is thrilled with the idea of Bayh as the party's savior heading toward 2012.

When Bayh announced in February that he would not seek re-election to the Senate, he left Democrats scrambling before a primary election filing deadline. Because of that timing, nominee U.S. Rep. Brad Ellsworth didn't go through a primary and didn't start campaigning until after he was nominated by the party in May.

Bayh donated $1.5 million to the Democratic Party to help Ellsworth and other candidates around the state, but Ellsworth's campaign never picked up steam and Republican Dan Coats easily won the Senate seat.

When Ellsworth mentioned Bayh in a speech Tuesday as he was thanking supporters, a man in the crowd yelled out "No! No! No!" Democratic Party spokesman RJ Gerard said the man appeared to be someone who simply didn't like Bayh. "They're out there, unfortunately," Gerard said.

But there are some significant reasons why any upset Democrats might be able to quickly forgive Bayh — including the $10 million he still has in his campaign account, the best name recognition of any Indiana Democrat and a track record of success in the conservative Midwestern state.

"Some are going to grumble, but I have a feeling others are going to say there has never been anybody more successful than Evan Bayh," said Robert Dion, who teaches politics at the University of Evansville.

Parker dismissed any notion of animosity toward Bayh, saying he would make an outstanding candidate for governor in 2012. He noted that Republicans won all over the country Tuesday and said Bayh was not responsible for the loss of the Senate seat.

Senate Minority Leader Vi Simpson, D-Bloomington, noted there are also younger Democrats who could step up for a shot at the governor's office. Several Democratic mayors or candidates who ran for statewide offices this year may be interested.

Simpson also said the economic and political situation in Indiana may be different in two years, which could lead voters in a different direction.

"By 2012, they may be ready for a change of a different kind," she said.

Indianapolis voter Leslie Hankins, 32, said Tuesday that she's used to her party being in the minority in the traditionally Republican state.

"Democrats are always an underdog in Indiana," she said.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Just Wait
    The voters are always dissatisfied with the party in power, because both parties and any splinter groups have their own agendas that have nothing to do with what the voters want and or need. So the pendulum will indeed swing, so JUST WAIT. I voted for Gumby for Mayor, because I was tired of Peterson bending over for the sports teams, and then Gumby bent over for the sports teams. And Gumby wants to sell more of our public assets to private enterprises. So much for Gumby, I think he may be like a lot of our sports teams - ONE AND DONE.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Good Day I am Mr (Victoria Wright) from United state of America, i stayed in NEW YORK, and i have a broke up business, until i found this company email who help me to gain a loan for business,, and now i want to used this short medium to congratulate the below company for the fast and safe money they loan to me without any form of collateral, i loan 500,000USD from the company to save my business and lots more, i saw their mail on the internet, everyone always give testimony for what they did, so i quickly contacted them and they all did everything for me without stress and my money was sent to my account just 3 days later, i was surprise and i feel so glad, now i have a standard business control agent who help me, now i will advice those who need urgent loan to contact him at the bellow email:zenithfirm12@gmail.com

  2. NOTICE:This is to inform the general public that Vampires are real. My name is James Franklyn.,am an agent of vampire,am here to introduce our new world trend to you,a world of vampire where life get easier,we have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich,you will be assured long life and prosperity,you shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness,stronger and also very fast,you will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk.In case you are wildly oppressed by some unscrupulous persons we can still help you fight them.Your protection is assured immediately you join.Just contact the bellow email if you are interested we are here to attend to you anytime you want us. Contact the bellow email for more details. Email:vampirescreed@hotmail.com Sincerely: James Franklyn.

  3. Bravo! Someone else that is willing to speak the truth! Bravo!_____NBCSN is available in almost 2 MILLION more homes than just a few years ago, but Indycar STILL gets less total viewers than it did just a few years ago when NBC took over Versus. Attendance and ratings cratered with the end of season races (just when the title battle got "interesting" HAH!__________And now...new race in Basilia, where Miles celebrated the "rich history" of Indycar racing there. Rich history? What, 7 events in the 100 years of AOW? Yep, some history. Well, at least its an oval. It's not??? Are you kidding me??? Gosh darn road racin furriners.

  4. PURITY RAY LOAN OFFER........ Have you been denied by your banks,or are you in need of of an urgent loan to pay of your bills we are capable of giving loans @ cheaper rate to interested individuals, student, companies and members of the public in need of finance to settle bills, we do offer considerable loans which you can count on. For more information on our various types of loan,then you will have to contact PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM, to help you achieve your desire LOAN APPLICATION FORM TO BE FILLED BORROWERS INFORMATION * Full name:………………………. * SEX * ……………………………. * Country………………………….. * State:……………………………. * Land:…………………………….. * Occupation:…………………….. * phone number:…………………. * Telephone: ………………………….. * Age:………………………………. * Amount needed as loan:……… * Loan Duration:………………….. * Propose of Loan:……………….. * Annual revenue:………………… * Monthly Income:……………….. * Guarantee:………………………. * Payment: monthly or annually Email.....purityrayloanfirm@gmail.com Thank you and God bless Mr Purity Ray PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM we tend to serve you better

  5. Problem: most of the people responding to this article don't know about this service AT ALL! Why? Lack of awareness. This isn't IndyGo. This is CIRTA: might as well be the mattress company because they are asleep at the wheel - something like 3 directors over the last year? Playing with federal grant money is great! This "region" wants commuter rail service, has spent MILLIONS on Transportation studies yet can't even support a commuter bus line? This is largely for suburban riders to get to downtown - not for "service people to work in our hotels and restaurants" ! Get your head out of your backside!! These are professionals, students etc. that don't want to fight traffic, save some money on parking, gas, stress.... if CIRTA would put their federal money into widely promoting the sevive to Greenwood, Fishers & Carmel instead of finding directors and studies - this would be a successful service. Our family uses(d) it daily for the last several years - but the recent uncertainty & now unreliability due to cuts from Carmel has been a problem. Now, costs us an additional $350/month for gas & parking ( $4200/year) plus vehicle wear, service, environmental impact ... YES - this REGION needs this this type of service in order to keep growing and getting the people it needs to fill skilled positions in downtown Indianapolis. Think outside of your own car !!!

ADVERTISEMENT