Bayh likely to run for governor, party official says

Expect Sen. Evan Bayh to announce a run for governor after the first of the year, a supporter says.

Ed Treacy, chairman of the Marion County Democratic Party, thinks the likelihood is high that Bayh will seek back the office he held for two terms ending in 1996 before moving to his current seat.

When Bayh shocked even Democratic insiders in February by announcing he was retiring from the Senate, he made a point of saying that he had learned that he prefers running things to being stuck in partisan gridlock.

Treacy noted that Bayh showed up for the annual Indiana Democratic Editorial Association Convention in French Lick late last month. Observing that Bayh hadn’t been at the event in years, Treacy says, “That speaks volumes for him about his priorities.”

Probably not so coincidentally, Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee and a former governor of Virginia, arrived to speak.

If Bayh tossed his hat in the ring, virtually everyone else in the party would clear out, Treacy says. Being Democrats, though, someone is bound to test the establishment: “It doesn’t mean Joe Schmoe wouldn’t run against him; I guarantee ya [Bayh] would win.”

Bayh has been knocking on doors. In April, he was passed over to run the NCAA here in Indianapolis. That job went to University of Washington President Mark Emmert, who took over for Miles Brand after Brand died from cancer.

If Bayh were to run and win, he’d likely ride a crest of rising tax revenue with a recovering economy, which would open doors to fund full-day kindergarten and possibly some health care initiatives, Treacy says.

Cynics suggested he left the Senate to avoid campaigning for another term in a year when anti-incumbency fever was running high. Do you think Bayh’s name comes to the minds of most Hoosiers who are in a throw-the-bums-out mood?

How would you feel if Bayh wanted to be governor again? Would he win, and what would a third term look like?
 

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