In an interview Tuesday with ABC's "Indianapolis This Week," retiring Sen. Dan Coats criticized GOP Rep. Marlin Stutzman for what he called his "unseemly" ballot challenge to fellow GOP Rep. Todd Young's candidacy and suggested he may rethink remaining neutral in the race.
"I think they're going to have to account for the fact that it looked awfully self-serving before we even knew what the facts were," Coats said, calling on Stutzman to apologize to Republicans in the state. "I've said I wouldn't endorse, but I've also said I want this to be a fair choice for the Hoosier people — that I shouldn't be the one dictating who should be that candidate. But this was unseemly, and I think so self-serving that I may re-evaluate that."
The Indiana Democratic Party is challenging Young's place on the ballot , arguing that he has not collected enough signatures. On Feb. 12, the Stutzman campaign filed a similar challenge to Young's place on the ballot. An Indianapolis Star review of verified signatures in the 1st District found 497 — three short of the requisite 500. Indiana's elections authority is expected to hold a hearing on the signature issue on Feb. 19.
Coats' former chief of staff, Eric Holcomb, withdrew from the race on Feb. 8. Democrats would prefer to run against Stutzman, who has raised less money and is more conservative than Young. The primary is on May 3.
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