Bayh won't seek re-election - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Bayh won't seek re-election

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Sen. Evan Bayh Sen. Evan Bayh
Dan Coats Dan Coats

Indianapolis - At a news conference Monday afternoon, Sen. Evan Bayh cited partisanship in Washington as his main reason for not seeking re-election.

Early reports Monday indicated that Bayh would announce his retirement from the Senate. He will serve out his term through the end of the year.

"For some time I've had a growing conviction that Congress is not operating as it should," he said, saying there was "too much narrow ideology and not enough practical problem solving."

"The people's business is not getting done," he said, giving two examples of the Senate voting down measures to deal with the nation's debt and to create jobs.

"Last week a major piece of legislation to create new jobs fell apart amidst complaints from both the left and the right," said Bayh.

"All this and much more has led me to believe there are better ways to serve," he said.

"I love working for the people of Indiana. I love helping our citizens making the most of their lives. But I do not love Congress. I will not, therefore, be a candidate for election to the Senate this November."

Bayh thanked his wife Susan, sons Beau and Nick, all three of whom stood by his side, and his staff. Susan Bayh wiped away tears while her husband spoke.

"Most importantly I am grateful to the people of Indiana who for almost a quarter century placed their trust in me," he said.

Read Bayh's complete statement here.

Bayh spoke at the IUPUI University Place Conference Center and Hotel in Indianapolis.

Bayh has held his seat since 1998. Former Sen. Dan Coats, a Republican, has announced his intention to seek the GOP nomination for the seat in 2010.

A recent poll put Bayh 20 points ahead of Coats.  Bayh acknowledged that by saying he was "confident in my re-election prospects."

He added that "running for the sake of winning an election just to remain in office is not enough."

"Words cannot convey nor can I adequately express my gratitude to the great people of Indiana. I will never forget those I've been privileged to serve and those who kindly supported me," he said. "My job is to work for Hoosiers, not the other way around."

"If Washington, DC could be more like Indiana, Washington would be a better place," he added.

Bayh says it is time for him to "contribute to society in another way," either by creating jobs with a business, leading a college or university, or running a charity.

His decision leaves Democrats at risk of losing the Senate seat in the November election after Bayh had raised $13 million for his campaign.

President Obama's office issued a statement late Monday:

"For more than two decades, Evan Bayh has devoted his career and his life to serving his fellow Hoosiers. During that time, he has fought tirelessly for Indiana's working families, reaching across the aisle on issues ranging from job creation and economic growth to fiscal responsibility and national security. I look forward to continuing to work with him on these critical challenges throughout the rest of the year. Michelle and I thank Senator Bayh for his leadership and service and wish him and his family all the best in their future endeavors."

Governor Mitch Daniels released a statement about the announcement Monday evening:

"Evan Bayh has served Indiana faithfully and with great integrity in three decades and three important capacities. At a time when people of moderation with minds open to the views of others are increasingly rare in Washington, the nation will miss him as much as our state does."

Rep. Brad Ellsworth released the following statement in response to Bayh's announcement:

"Evan Bayh has served the people of Indiana with integrity and Hoosier common sense for over two decades. His time in the US Senate will be marked by his moderate approach and willingness to reach across the aisle to tackle our nation's most pressing problems. I appreciate his service to our people and state. He will be missed."

"I heard about the news during my annual Open Door Listening Tour this morning, and I appreciate the support of those Hoosiers who have already encouraged me to run for Senator Bayh's seat. The next step will be taking a few days to talk to my wife and to folks in Indiana about where I can best serve our state. In the meanwhile, I will continue to travel throughout the 8th District this week listening to Hoosiers about the challenges they face and their ideas for getting our economy back on track."

Read Bayh's complete statement here.

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