Coats to challenge Sen. Bayh for Congress - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Coats to challenge Sen. Bayh for Congress

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Dan Coats Dan Coats

Kevin Rader/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - Former US Ambassador and US Senator Dan Coats is combing the state in search of the 4,500 signatures he needs to get on Indiana's Republican primary ballot. Coats hopes to challenge incumbent Democratic Senator Evan Bayh in November, but not all Republicans are on the bandwagon.

"I've done my best and I believe I've done my part," with those words fourteen years ago, then-Senator Dan Coats announced he would not run for re-election against the challenger.

Then Governor Evan Bayh's reaction of surprise could very be the same now that Coats has announced he is considering running for Senate again.

"He was a great senator. I was always sorry to see him step down. I still think he might have beaten Sen. Bayh if they had gone head to head," said Sen. David Long (R-Fort Wayne).

Some Republicans have not forgotten or forgiven that. State Senator Mike Delph said on his Facebook Thursday that Coats "had the chance to face the Bayh challenge in 1998 and chose to walk away." Delph supports State Senator Marlin Stutzman, who responded saying, "We don't want anymore Washington Insiders."

For his part, Gov. Mitch Daniels said he talked with Ambassador Coats twice this week by telephone but he was quick to add, "I will support the Republican nominee." He said he would not get involved in the primary.

Democrat House Speaker Pat Bauer was complimentary.

"He'll be a formidable candidate you can't take lightly," said Bauer.

It's no doubt why the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is busy putting out releases referring to the former United States Ambassador to Germany as a lobbyist whose client list includes the oil company that partners with Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.

When he said farewell in 1996, Senator Coats parted with these words.

"It's a loan and not a right and I am convinced there is a life for me and a calling for me outside of politics," he said.

He certainly did have a future outside of politics. Now he may have to convince Hoosiers he also has a second life back in it.

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