News that U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., won’t run for a third term is a pretty good punch to the gut of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Bayh reportedly had $13 million in the bank for a reelection run and at least had his nose above water in polling matchups with likely Republican rivals. But he’s out, tired of Washington gridlock. His seat goes from leaning Democratic to a toss-up or even leaning Republican, given Indiana’s relative conservatism.
Slowly the Democrats’ filibuster-proof Senate edifice is crumbling. Republican Scott Brown wins Ted Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts, and the 60-vote working majority (with two independents) is down to 59. North Dakota’s Byron Dorgan also is quitting, and Republicans probably will win there. 58. Now Bayh, 57. Joe Biden’s Delaware seat (technically, being kept warm by Ted Kaufman) looks like a GOP pickup in November. 56. Republicans have shots at Democratic seats in Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada and Pennsylvania. 55, 54, 53, 52, 51.
The GOP still would have to pick up a couple more while defending 18 seats to gain Senate control. It’s a long shot for sure — though not as long as it was before Bayh’s announcement.