Magazine article Politics Magazine

Indiana

Magazine article Politics Magazine

Indiana

Article excerpt

TYPICALLY KNOWN AS one of Washington's most moderate Democrats, many in the party say Sen. Evan Bayh has moved even further to the right over the past year. In December, Bayh bucked his party and voted for an amendment to the healthcare reform bill that would have restricted the use of federal money for abortion. He also opposes the Obama administration on one of its other top priorities, cap and trade.

Bayh's rightward shift just happens to coincide with an election year, and it has Republicans wondering whether Bayh could be ripe for a serious challenge in 2010 if the right candidate emerges.

"He continues to put himself in a position to be vulnerable," says Indiana-based Republican consultant Angela Faulkner, who says despite Bayh's more moderate rhetoric, he is still in line with most Democratic priorities in Washington, including healthcare reform. But, she cautions, "Unless a Republican can match Bayh's war chest, it's going to be difficult to defeat him."

Former Rep. John Hostettler (R) announced in December that he will make a run at Bayh this year, but the Republican isn't half the fundraiser Bayh is--the incumbent already has nearly $13 million in the bank. Nor does Hostettler come into the race with anything close to the electoral pedigree of Bayh. Hostettler was a six-term incumbent when he lost his seat to Democrat Brad Ellsworth in 2006. Even though he was significantly outspent, the fact that Hostettler garnered less than 40 percent of the vote as an incumbent in that race leaves most Republicans in the state unconvinced he's the right candidate to give Bayh a real run. …

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