Enter Coats. Exit Bayh. Bye, bye, Bayh!
The first time Evan Bayh gets a serious race for re-election, he quits!
The Scott Brown victory still is rippling through the House and the Senate, causing retirements among committed, dedicated, long-term liberal Democrats. Seeing voter anger, they are heading for the hills.
The process seems to work as follows:
a. Public anger manifests itself in the Brown victory
b. The improvement in Republican chances impels top-notch, former statewide elected officials to jump into races against Democratic incumbents
c. The Democrat bows out in the face of likely defeat. Suddenly, he wants to spend more time with his family.
This process has run its course in Indiana and may shortly be manifest in Wisconsin, where former Gov. Tommy Thompson is considering a run against Sen. Russ Feingold. It may yet play out in Arkansas, where Sen. Blanche Lincoln now has a top-tier opponent in Congressman John Boozman. And Sen. Patty Murray may hear footsteps behind her with the entry into the race of wealthy businessman Paul Akers and the possible entry of former almost-Gov. Dino Rossi. Rossi lost the governorship of Washington state in a Franken-esque theft after initial counts showed him defeating Christine Gregoire by 261 votes. Now Gregoire won in the recount.
In New York state, billionaire Mort Zuckerman may take on appointed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and, if he doesn't, former Gov. George Pataki might jump into the race.
When we predicted a Republican win in the Senate in 2010, some laughed. But nobody's laughing now.
On a less high-profile level, the House is also swinging Republican. The death of Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha opens the way for a likely GOP pickup in a special election and the Republicans now stand to pick up ten more seats through Democratic retirements. One wonders if the likes of Texas Democrat Chet Edwards, South Carolina's John Spratt, or Arkansas' Mike Ross might not be far behind in the race into retirement.
It now looks more likely than ever that Congress will go Republican in the elections of 2010.
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