One Member of the Indiana Congressional delegation ended speculation about his gubernatorial plans this week while another is reportedly still pondering a run for the state’s top job in 2004.
Sen. Evan Bayh (D) said Saturday that he would forgo running for governor and instead is expected to seek re-election next year.
Bayh, arguably the most popular Democrat in the state, had been encouraged to consider running for his old job after Lt. Gov. Joe Kernan (D) announced late last year that he would not run for the post as expected.
The first-term Senator was governor from January 1989 to January 1997. He said that by not running for governor he would be able to devote his full attention to the Senate.
Meanwhile, Rep. Baron Hill (D) is considered one of the leading Democrats still looking at getting into the governor’s race. Hill has said he hopes to make a decision this week.
However, many observers believe it is unlikely that Hill will run. On Tuesday, Hill was named as one of seven Chief Deputy Whips by the incoming Democratic leadership.
"I don’t want to be an ‘he also ran,’" Hill told the Indianapolis Star this week, referring to a possible gubernatorial bid. "I want to make sure I’ve got a clear shot at winning."
On the Republican side, Office of Management and Budget Director Mitch Daniels, a former Indiana Republican Party chairman, is mulling a run for governor, as is former Sen. Dan Coats (R), currently ambassador to Germany. Former Rep. David McIntosh (R) has already announced he’s running.
— Lauren W. Whittington
Republican Mayor Joins Race; DeMint Favored
Myrtle Beach Mayor Mark McBride (R) became the first official challenger to Sen. Fritz Hollings (D) when he announced his candidacy Monday.
"I really am a candidate for the working man," McBride said.
McBride won re-election to a second term as mayor in 2002 and previously served on the City Council from 1994 to 1997. He also is the owner of Crabman’s Seafood and Country Buffet in Myrtle Beach.
It remains unclear whether Hollings will seek a seventh term. Hollings, who will be 81 on Election Day 2004, has yet to decide on the race but appears to be leaning against it.
Republicans do not seem daunted by the prospect of facing Hollings.
Rep. Jim DeMint (R), who has held the 4th district seat since 1998, is also expected to make the race and is considered the front-runner.
DeMint is seen as the preferred candidate of the White House.
He must, however, drastically increase his fundraising in order to solidify that status. DeMint showed only $9,000 on hand in his post-election report that covered contributions and expenditures through Nov. 25.
First district Rep. Joe Wilson (R), who was considered DeMint’s main opposition for the GOP nomination, took himself out of contention in December.
Other Republicans contemplating the race include former state Attorney General Charlie Condon and former Rep. Tommy Hartnett.
— Chris Cillizza
Inglis Seeks Comeback In Old House District
Former Rep. Bob Inglis (R) is preparing for a return run for the 4th district seat he held from 1992 to 1998.
The seat will come open in 2004 when Rep. Jim DeMint (R) retires, abiding by the term-limits pledge he took in 1998. DeMint is the leading candidate against Sen. Fritz Hollings (D) in 2004.