For his last trick as a US Senator, Evan Bayh is going to retire and hand a seat over to the GOP:
“After all these years, my passion for service to my fellow citizens is undiminished, but my desire to do so by serving in Congress has waned,” Bayh will say.
Bayh will announce the decision at a press conference later today. He was first elected to the Senate in 1998 and was re-elected easily in 2004. National Republicans had recruited former Sen. Dan Coats to challenge Bayh in 2010 although polling suggested Bayh began the race with a 20-point edge. He also had $13 million in the bank at the end of the year.
Bayh’s been the second-most conservative Democrat in the 111th Senate (after Ben Nelson), but still to the left of all the Republican members. Interestingly, the Bayh/Lugar pairing in Indiana is just about the only instance of two Senators from different parties representing the same state with a somewhat similar voting record. Other states with split Senate delegations see huge chasms between the voting records of the Senators.