Republican Sen. Dan Coats will not run for re-election in Indiana next year, opening up his Senate seat to a wide group of hopefuls.
“This was not an easy decision," Coats said in a statement of his decision not to seek another term. "While I believe I am well-positioned to run a successful campaign for another six-year term, I have concluded that the time has come to pass this demanding job to the next generation of leaders."
Coats is heading for the exit — again. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Coats, 71, spent a decade in the Senate from 1989 to 1999. He came out of retirement in 2010, when Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh announced his retirement at the close of the filing period.
Romney carried the state by a 10-point margin in 2012, making it tough for a Democrat to win. But that same year, Democrat Joe Donnelly defeated Republican Richard Murdock for the Senate seat by 6 points — in large part thanks to gaffes Murdock made on the trail in the final days of the race.
A number of Republicans are reportedly considering bids. They include three GOP members of the congressional delegation — Todd Rokita, Marlin Stutzman and Todd Young — as well as state Speaker Brian Bosma. GOP operatives added that Republican Reps. Susan W. Brooks and Jackie Walorski would also be strong contenders.
The Democratic field is less certain. Asked by Politico about running for office again, Bayh said recently, "I have no interest at this point."
Democrats mentioned state Rep. Christina Hale, an Indianapolis-based Democrat, and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz as a potential contenders. Ritz won her statewide position in 2012, upsetting a GOP incumbent for the role.
Only two Democrats remain in the state's House delegation.
The race is rated a Safe Republican contest by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.
Coats is the third senator to announce retirement this year.
Roll Call Casualty List
Senators Confirm Re-Election Bids for 2016
The 114th: CQ Roll Call's Guide to the New Congress
Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.