February 15, 2010

Bayh Retires at last second

Bayh's retirement also sets up a very confusing situation

because it comes just 24 hours from the registration deadline for statewide candidates! While Indiana's filing deadline is on Friday, Senate candidates need to deposit 500 signatures from each of the state's nine congressional districts by noon tomorrow to qualify for the fall ballot.

The twist: If no Democrat whatsoever has qualified, party officials can appoint a replacement for that vacancy. This should be the party's saving grace since it is virtually impossible for anyone to collect 4,500 signatures within the next 24 hours. The first question, then, is whether any Democrat who was already running can qualify for the ballot by tomorrow. It looks like only one person was planning a challenge to Bayh: Tamyra d'Ippolito, who entered the race as a progressive critic of the senator. Just three days ago, d'Ippolito said she was 1,000 signatures short. If she finds them by tomorrow, Democrats need to either stick with her or convince her to withdraw; if she fails, a party committee made of up 32 Democratic officials (ethnic caucus leaders, county leaders) will get to choose a replacement who could bypass a primary.

So Senator Bayh bows out almost too late for anyone but the Democrat Party itself to chose his replacement -- handy for them... wouldn't want "the people" to decide who should run.

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