On February 15, Sen. Evan Bayh announced that he would not seek re-election as a United States Senator. Bayh won his 2006 re-election campaign by 24 points (61.6 to 37.3) and at the time of his retirement announcement, had a war chest of $13 million. In the immediate wake of his retirement, Bayh took great pains to explain his aversion to the current partisan climate in Washington.
With President Obama’s approval rating hovering around 50%, Americans split evenly over which party is to blame for the lack of bipartisanship in Congress, Congress’ approval rating somewhere around 20%, and the pervasive anti-incumbent attitude, a moderate, popular Democrat with national ambitions might find it opportune to take his money and run. I’ve no hard evidence but it seems to me that, Bayh might find it politically beneficial to not wage a re-election campaign, to retain his high approval rating, his war chest, and join the anti-Congress, anti-incumbent chorus. It seems to me that a moderate politician like Bayh might be “drafted” to run against a left-leaning incumbent President who is unpopular. The N.Y. Daily News suggested, at Bayh’s retirement, that he just began the 2016 race—I think he may have just begun the race for 2012.