When Evan Bayh faced opposition in 2004 for re-election, only three Republicans sought the nomination, and ultimately Senator Bayh won rather handily, with over 60% of the vote. This time around, however, in what has become a political zoo, there are now at least six candidates in the running for the Republican nomination, and the newest contender is a former U.S. Senator from here: Dan Coats.
The man's history can go back to 1980 when he was elected to the House (winning the seat previously held by some guy named Dan Quayle), and moving on to the Senate after winning a special election in 1989 (winning the seat held by the then-Vice President; some guy named Dan Quayle). Later elected to a full term in 1992, he opted out of running for a second full term in 1998, making the way for an open race between the then-Mayor of Fort Wayne, Paul Helmke, and the former Governor of Indiana, Evan Bayh (I'll give you three guesses how that race turned out).
Since then, Dan Coats has served as a registered lobbyist and, during President George W. Bush's first term, as Ambassador to Germany. Now, he's making another run for the Senate. I'm not, however, comfortable with his candidacy.
Unable to get either Congressman Mike Pence or Secretary of State Todd Rokita to enter the Senate race, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) tried a third time to get their idea of a winnable candidate with Dan Coats. The problem with Dan Coats is that: 1) he was a Washington politician for nearly twenty years, 2) he is a registered lobbyist and 3) until now (unless I'm mistaken), he was a Virginia resident.
Although he is touted as a conservative Republican based on his record (and I wouldn't doubt it), the fact he has been a Washington politician, is a registered lobbyist and has been a Virginia resident for a long time won't exactly, in my opinion, endear him to Tea Partiers and 9/12'ers. I suspect the national Republicans are unwittingly screwing with this election by getting somebody in they think will win, name recognition being a big factor in their choosing.
As far as I'm concerned, Marlin Stutzman is the kind of candidate I want to represent me in the Senate (not a Washington politician and a solid conservative with a record to back his stances and his words), and I believe many Hoosiers hold the same opinion as I do. Dan Coats is not the candidate I want, and like it or not, he may not be the winnable candidate national Republicans seem to think.