Pence Weighing Bid Against Bayh

Posted January 20, 2010 at 12:12pm

House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) will meet with the National Republican Senatorial Committee on Thursday to discuss a potential campaign against Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), GOP aides confirmed on Wednesday.Pence, the third-ranking House Republican, declined comment when he was asked about a potential Senate campaign at a Wednesday press conference.Brian Walsh, a spokesman for the NRSC, would not comment on whether the meeting would take place.“We do not comment on private meetings, but we believe he would be an excellent candidate and hope that he considers it,— Walsh said.Pence, who is serving his fifth term, must come to a decision soon. The candidate filing period began Wednesday and will close Feb. 19. The primary is May 4.Four Republicans already are challenging Bayh: former Rep. John Hostettler; state Sen. Marlin Stutzman; Don Bates Jr., a businessman; and Richard Behney, an anti-tax “tea party— activist.Bayh, a former Indiana governor, dominated the vote in his previous two Senate races and had $12.7 million in his campaign account at the end of September. Republican strategists think he could be vulnerable this year in part because of his vote for a Democratic-written health care bill.If Pence were to leave open his seat to run for the Senate, Republicans would be favored to retain his 6th district, which includes Anderson, Muncie and other territory in eastern Indiana.