Former Indiana Senator Dan Coats (R) is jumping into the ring to take on Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh.
After a decade in the Senate, Coats retired in 1998–ironically while being challenged by Bayh, who at that point was Governor of Indiana.
The GOP sees Coats as a recruiting win, but I don’t exactly know why since Coats hasn’t held elected office in more than a decade and doesn’t even live in Indiana–he lives in Virginia and has been voting there since at least 2000.
In addition Coats, who served as Ambassador to Germany for George W. Bush, is currently a federal lobbyist.
So I don’t get why a Washington lobbyist who lives in Virginia is supposedly the GOP’s savior in Indiana–particularly since he’s up against Bayh, who has been a Senator for the past decade and was Governor for the 8 years before that.
Plus, Bayh has $13 million in the bank–that’s a massive warchest, particularly in Indiana.
Of course, nothing is impossible; if I were Bayh I wouldn’t take anything for granted. But something tells me that Coats’ career as a lobbyist and his sudden return to the state he abandoned more a decade ago could dump some water on the GOP’s ambitions.
UPDATE: And this probably won’t help Coats’ campaign:
[B]ack in 1998, Coats questioned Bill Clinton’s motives in ordering air strikes targeting Osama Bin Laden and associates, in the wake of the bombing of U.S. embassies in east Africa.
Coats hinted it was a wag-the-dog effort to distract from the Monica Lewinsky scandal:
“The president has been consumed with matters regarding his personal life. It raises questions about whether or not he had the time to devote to this issue, or give the kind of judgment that needed to be given to this issue to call for military action.”
This was something of a radioactive position even at the time, and those who voiced similar sentiments came under severe criticism for undermining efforts to counter a genuine terrror threat.