The Indiana Senate race has certainly had its twists and turns. Before Evan Bayh entered the race for the Democrats on July 11th, I would have bet a hefty sum of cash that Rep. Todd Young was going to wipe the floor with Democratic nominee former Rep. Baron Hill. A Howey Politics poll on May 19th had Young setting the pace by a whopping 18 points.
But, that’s not how things stayed.
When Former Senator Evan Bayh entered the race, the game was changed. Evan Bayh is the son of the Birch Bayh, a beloved 3 term Senator also from Indiana. Evan is the former Secretary of State, two term Governor, and former two term Senator from Indiana. With near universal name recognition, Bayh’s entry into the race dealt a critical blow to the Young campaign.
A week after he jumped into the race, an internal DSCC poll projected Bayh was up 21 points. They even said that his support had room to grow.That’s a 39 point swing. But, its what people didn’t know about Bayh’s post-Senate career that’s derailed his campaign.
As he left the Senate, Bayh wrote an op-ed highlighting his discontent regarding gridlock. Following his tenure in the Senate, Bayh went to work in D.C. for lobbying firms, and stayed within the beltway in his multi-million dollar Georgetown home.
It’d be foolish to assume that Bayh would maintain a 21 point lead for the remainder of the campaign. From that point on, the Young camp decided that it would dictate the race’s narrative until election day
From that point on, Evan Bayh’s image has been absolutely dismantled. Scandal after scandal has emerged, and his campaign has largely been on the defensive.
Bayh’s scandals include but aren’t limited to:
- Not knowing his address in Indiana
- Stating he never left Indiana, when he really did
- being an inactive voter in Indiana
- lying about being a lobbyist
- using over $200,000 taxpayer dollars to pay for personal travel
- a votes for hire scandal
- not staying at at his Indiana “home” during 2010, instead staying in hotels
Bayh’s image has been absolutely trashed by these scandals. Young’s team is right to capitalize on these scandals. Voters deserve to be educated about their choices.
I believe Bayh’s baggage will ultimately cost him this election. Bayh’s baggage is similar, albeit worse, to former Senator Richard Lugar. Lugar lost in the primary after serving for 6 terms, because he lived permanently inside the beltway. If Richard Lugar, a beloved six-term senator, isn’t safe from a residency scandal, neither is Evan Bayh. Bayh has more than just a residency scandal. This is a major reason I believe that Young will win.
To add, Evan Bayh is not a good representative for Indiana. In 12 years in the Senate, Bayh passed a measly two bills. Bayh also cast the deciding vote in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, or Obamacare. Two years on from his decisive vote, he publicly admitted that the Medical Device tax, a major part of Obamacare, kills American jobs — including thousands in Indiana — and global competitiveness. Bayh is not a good legislature, and Hoosiers won’t forget his failures.
To make matters worse, Bayh voted with Hillary Clinton 85% of the time when their tenures in the Senate overlapped, and Bayh voted with Barack Obama 96% of the time. He is as partisan as can be. Meanwhile, he claims to be a conservative democrat. His voting record dictates otherwise.
On the flip side, Todd Young has been an excellent congressman for Indiana’s 9th District. Young has introduced important legislation such as the REINS Act. The act dictated that all new major regulations with an economic impact of $100 million or more would require an up-or-down vote by both the House and the Senate and the signature of the President before they can be enforced on the American public.
Although the REINS Act wasn’t passed into law, its this sort of leadership that embodies Congressman Young’s pedigree. Young has attempted to search for conservative solutions that plague Hoosiers, and Americans every day.
Overall, I do believe that Young is a better legislator than Bayh. Young also doesn’t carry loads of baggage like Bayh. For this reason, I believe that Hoosiers will see through his candidacy.
At the end of the day, internal polling on both sides dictates very different outcomes. Independent polling fails to account for Lucy Breton, the Libertarian Party candidate in the race.
I believe that Young will eek out this election by a point or two. The baggage that Bayh carries is too much for him to carry an election day victory. Young’s superior legislating skills will only help him, and Hoosiers don’t want to vote for someone they perceive to be a carpetbagger.
Bayh’s name recognition will help, but his name has been smeared by his own doing: the Young campaign has only echoed the attacks. Young deserves to win this race, and on November 8th, the Young campaign won’t be disappointed.