Sen. Bayh Retirement Shocker: Congress Needs ‘Significant Reform’
February 15, 2010
(ChattahBox)—Two-term Democratic Senator Evan Bayh from Indiana, shocked just about everyone today with his unexpected retirement announcement. Even some members of Bayh’s staff were taken by surprise by his President’s Day shocker. And reportedly, the Hoosier Senator made the decision on Friday not to seek reelection, but didn’t think to inform Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) nor President Obama. Bayh’s last-minute retirement leaves the Democrats in the lurch in a conservative red state, with tomorrow being the deadline for primary candidates to collect 4,500 signatures to be placed on the ballot. In his retirement speech, surrounded by his wife and two sons, Bayh said that he is leaving the senate because of the bitter partisanship that is causing gridlock in congress. In other words, the job is becoming too hard, so Bayh is bailing.
“My decision was not motivated by political concern,” Bayh said. “Even in the current challenging environment, I am confident in my prospects for re-election.” This statement is quite the understatement: Bayh had amassed a $13 million war chest for a reelection campaign and enjoyed a 20 point lead over his Republican challenger, former Sen. Dan Coats.
During his long speech, Bayh spoke of his frustration with the broken and dysfunctional senate:
“There are better ways to serve my fellow citizens,” Bayh said. “I love working for the people of Indiana. I love helping our citizens make the most of their lives, but I do not love Congress.”
He pointed out that the rancor and extreme partisanship in Congress makes it impossible to legislate for his constituents.
There is “too much narrow ideology and not enough practical problem solving,” Bayh said. “People’s business is not getting done.” Bayh was particularly discouraged by the recent failure to pass the deficit reduction commission, after several Republican co-sponsors of the bill voted against it for political gain. Bayh said that Congress is in “need of significant reform.”
With Democrats unlikely to meet tomorrow’s primary filing deadline, there will be no Democratic primary, but Indiana state law allows party leaders to choose a candidate where there is a vacancy.
Source: ABC News