Sen. Evan Bayh, a leading moderate Democrat from Indiana who was once thought to be a rising national political star, won’t run for a third term, a decision which imperils his party’s hold on the seat.
Bayh’s stunning decision – announced Monday afternoon in Indianapolis – came as he geared up for what may have been his most difficult campaign in an otherwise gilded political life.
The son of a senator, Bayh never lost a race over a career in which he was elected as secretary of state at the age of 30 and served as governor and senator for two terms each.
Until Monday morning, Bayh gave no hint that he was thinking about giving up his Senate seat. Just the opposite: he had nearly $13 million on hand, had taken on a new role as the de facto head of a Senate moderate rump group and Democratic operatives in Washington and Indiana had already launched a withering series of attacks against former Sen. Dan Coats, whose seat Bayh took when the Republican retired in 1998 and who had begun exploring taking on the incumbent earlier this month.