It’s Official: Ellsworth Is Running

Posted February 19, 2010 at 12:06pm

Updated: 2:16 p.m.

Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-Ind.), who seemed determined to be coy about his Senate aspirations just yesterday, now says he is running, just as expected.

The two-term Democrat and former Vanderburgh County sheriff announced Friday that he will be a candidate for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Evan Bayh (D).

“Sheriff is a job that comes down to protecting families from harm, helping folks solve their problems or resolve their disputes, and just being willing to put your fellow citizens’ best interests ahead of your own,” Ellsworth said in a statement. “When I look at the U.S. Senate these days, I sure think they could use more folks with those same qualities.”

The Indiana Democratic Party’s state central committee will wait until after the May 4 primary to fill the ballot vacancy.

Republicans face a contested May 4 primary, but former Sen. Dan Coats is viewed as the frontrunner to win the party’s Senate nomination.

Meanwhile, Ellsworth’s move sets up an open-seat race in his conservative 8th district.

State Rep. Trent Van Haaften (D) has already filed to run to replace Ellsworth, the Indianapolis Star reported Friday. Several lesser-known Republicans are vying for their party’s nomination.

“When an opportunity came up to go to Washington D.C. and represent a broader portion of Indiana at a time in our country when we need less yelling at one another and more working with one another, I think I am the person to serve the 8th District of Indiana and make this state and this country a better place,” Van Haaften told the Star.