Thursday, November 09, 2006

Midterms good for Bayh's presidential prospects

Midterms good for Bayh's presidential prospects

For Howey Political Report Nov. 9, 2006

Democratic voters were good to Evan Bayh in this year's midterm elections.

The two-term senator from Indiana is not scheduled to run for re-election until 2010, but he did have a lot riding on the success of numerous candidates in races throughout the country. For starters, our former governor invested manpower, funding and reputation in the Hoosier state's three key congressional races.

The three victories support Bayh's claim, delivered to thousands of Democrats all across the country, that he can help the party win votes in red states. He wasted no time touting the successes with a statement disseminated Tuesday night.

"The lesson of this election is clear," the statement read. "We won by turning the red states of the heartland blue. Indiana, which has voted for the Republicans in 16 of the last 17 presidential elections, sent three new Democrats to congress. This is not an accident.

"Out here in Indiana, we have developed a formula for winning under the most difficult of circumstances. We are fiscally responsible, tough on national security, share the values of middle class families, and value progress over partisanship."

One Indiana Democrat who credited Bayh's support with aiding the cause was Evan Kelsay, who managed Terry Coriden's losing campaign in State Senate District 41.

"Evan Bayh's Sunday rally for Baron Hill definitely went a long way to energizing the Democratic base in Bartholomew County, a heavily Republican area by the numbers," Kelsay, who was running his first campaign, told HPR. "Voter turnout was at presidential-year levels.

"In a place where none of its 19 county-wide Democratic candidates won their races, Baron was able to keep pace with Mike Sodrel, only losing [the county] by 306 votes," Kelsay said. "In all honesty, that was a win for Baron, because it forced Sodrel to play defense and not to take the county for granted."

Bayh's influence reached well beyond Indiana's borders. In total, the senator campaigned, contributed money and/or provided paid staff for approximately 350 candidates and party committees nationwide, said Dan Pfeiffer, the senator's communications director. Bayh's leadership PAC, All America PAC, featured 28 state and federal races in 14 states, with Democrats winning two dozen. Perhaps more significantly, AAPAC provided 50 paid staffers from the Camp Bayh program to campaigns in the key presidential primary states of Indiana, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. Bayh blogger Rob Harrington of Confessions of a Hoosier Democrat reported that the Camp Bayh staff tallied an 18-7 record on Tuesday.

Politicians took notice. Yesterday's Hotline included this tidbit under the headline "Bayh The Key To Victory In IA?":

"IA GOP sources credit staffers detailed to IA state leg races by Sen. Evan Bayh's All America PAC for the Dem victory in the state. Approx. 25 staffers paid by Bayh's PAC helped IA Dems work on those campaigns; Republicans had fewer than 10 paid staffs working on leg. races (Hotline reporting, 11/7)"

Boston Globe political correspondent James Pindell, who served as a panelist at this year's HPR Forum, said Bayh has also earned the right to bask in an historical Democratic victory in New Hampshire, where the party gained the majority in both state houses for the first time since 1874.

"There's no doubt that Evan Bayh can take some credit for the fact that Democrats in New Hampshire had an historic night," Pindell told HPR. "He gave his time. He gave his money. He also allowed 15 staffers to share their resources for these races. The most important thing Evan Bayh can take away from the victories in New Hampshire is a more knowledgeable staff."

Pindell, who hails from New Castle, said that while some New Hampshire candidates may not exactly be indebted to Evan Bayh, they "at least have to give him a fair shot. So Evan Bayh definitely does come off better than most presidential candidates. There's only probably John Edwards that could even come close in parallelling the influence that Bayh has had."


Blogger BiLL Earl said...

I just found out about you guys down the internet street from me...very impressive blogsite...more scholarly than ours...just know that I'm working alongside you to get Bayh nominated and elected...


10:41 PM  

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