Bye Bye, Bayh: Indiana Doesn’t Want Its Old Senator Back

Republican Todd Young will take the seat Bayh vacated in 2010.

Bill Clark/ZUMA

It turns out that the revolving door doesn’t always revolve back: After taking a six-year hiatus from the Senate to rake in big bucks as a lobbyist and elsewhere in the private sector, Democrat Evan Bayh—a former two-term US senator and governor from Indiana—failed in his bid to retake his old Senate seat. GOP Rep. Todd Young will be joining the upper chamber next year after the networks called the race for him as he held a 12-point lead over Bayh with 42 percent reporting.

Bayh joined the race to much fanfare earlier this summer. Democratic Party officials celebrated their recruitment of Bayh, who retired from his seat in 2010, and he held an early lead in the polls in this normally conservative state. But slowly, voters learned more about Young—and Bayh. While Bayh had retired with a high-minded New York Times op-ed in 2010 bemoaning the lack of political comity and valor in Washington, he quickly started to engage in the sort of insider dealings that much of the country resents. The Associated Press recently revealed that Bayh spent the last year of his Senate term searching for his next job, eventually landing gigs at a lobbying outfit and a private equity firm. He boosted the Chamber of Commerce and became a Fox News contributor. He took in millions and largely left his home state behind to live in DC.

Without the Indiana seat, Democrats have a narrower path to retaking a Senate majority.