Red State reports that Congressman Mike Pence will not run for the Senate this year. I had heard over the weekend that the Bayh camp believed Pence would probably not challenge their guy. It’s sensible for Pence not to, given his status in the House and the prospect of a Republican takeover of the body before too long.
However, Bayh remains in trouble. He’s up in the latest Rasmussen poll by only 44-41 over former Congressman John Hostettler, who has announced his candidacy. This is a better showing than the 47-44 margin by which Bayh trailed Pence. However, the important number for an incumbent at this stage is what he’s polling, not what the other guy is.
As Michael Barone observes, although Hostettler served six terms in the House, “he is from the sparsely populated southwest corner of the state [and has] never spent much money on his campaigns.” When he becomes better known, Hostettler should be able to pick up much of the surplus undecided vote that distinguishes his polling numbers from Pence’s.
Still, there doesn’t seem to be much doubt that Pence would have been the stronger candidate in what figures to be a tough contest.
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