Ellsworth may consider Senate run

Sen. Evan Bayh
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Kevin Rader/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - One day after Sen. Evan Bayh decided not to seek re-election to the US Senate, one of the state's Democratic congressmen says he may want to take Bayh's place.

The focus on the campaign season in Indiana is now focused on a Senate race that many would have written off just a few months ago.

The Indiana Secretary of States office was a busy place Tuesday. State Senator Marlin Stutzman for one stopped by to submit his 4,500 signatures to get on the ballot. He is hoping to win the Republican nomination and ultimately succeed Senator Evan Bayh.

"Now it's an open seat...It doesn't change our message at all but it does make the race more competitive in the primary. I think our chances in the fall are really good right now," said Stutzman.

Another possible senatorial candidate was out and about on Tuesday the day after the Bayh announcement, this time in Sullivan County.

Eighth District Congressman Brad Ellsworth said the president did not like his stand on cap and trade but "if you think it's the right thing to do you have to say sorry, Mr. President, I can't be with you on this."

That kind of independence is one of the reasons his name is being tossed about as the party's pick to succeed Evan Bayh. Ellsworth says he was shocked and saddened by the announcement and he says Bayh will be missed in Washington.

"I haven't been home in a couple of days...Certainly I've gotten calls. The politicians start thinking who will start doing this. Receiving calls and inquiries so I want to go home and talk to Beth. You know when you get asked certainly you consider it," he said.

Meanwhile, suspicions are rising in Republican ranks. The national Republican Senatorial Committee says if their candidates have to gather 4,500 signatures statewide then the Democratic senatorial nominee should as well. Republicans believe Sen. Bayh may have timed his announcement to allow the party to designate its candidate without the drawn-out primary fight that is expected on the Republican side.

"I think it will be a strong candidate who can carry the message ably into the fall and start with some fairly significant advantages in the campaign," said Bayh.

No Democrat filed the required signatures by Tuesday's deadline. That means the state Democratic Party's 32-member central committee will choose the party's Senate nominee for the November election. No date will be set according to State Party Chairman Dan Parker until there is a consensus.

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Stutzman files papers for Senate race

Parties weigh fallout from Bayh decision

Bayh backers shocked by announcement

Bayh won't seek re-election

Kevin Rader's Statehouse blog