Monday, May 9, 2011
Donnelly In for Senate; Who Joins Him?
In an announcement later today, Joe Donnelly is expected to announce that he is running for United States Senate in 2012. This announcement comes as no shock to anyone.
Donnelly has been saying for about two months now that he is interested in the job, and the final nail on his House career was probably driven home with the redraw of the 2nd Congressional District. Democrat Andrew Straw announced last week that he was going to take on that challenge and try to hold on to the seat for the D's.
So, Donnelly is going to join Republicans Richard Mourdock and Richard Lugar in the running for Senate. I would speculate that others will follow on the Democratic side as well.
Donnelly is a Blue Dog Democrat. He has proven to be one of the more "independent" Democrats in his time as a U.S. House member. Recently, he voted for the defunding of Planned Parenthood. He voted no on legislation to include national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity in the definition of a hate crime. Only at the last minute, he decided to vote for the health care bill. He voted against the DREAM Act. I'm sure there's a multitude of other things as well like his vote on the so-called "Redefining Rape" bill.
Here we go again with another Dem like Evan Bayh running for Senate. Donnelly may even be more extreme than Bayh or Ellsworth (the last Bayh clone to give it a go). For the record, after speaking with Brad Ellsworth, I became a big supporter. I have yet to talk to Congressman Donnelly about his views, but, needless to say, his candidacy fails, as Randy Jackson would say on American Idol, to "make me jump up and down" at this point.
Sources told the Indianapolis Star that Donnelly is running because he doesn't think that Richard Lugar can beat Richard Mourdock in a primary. That may be true, but I wouldn't bet on it. Lugar has millions in the bank, and he can get more. It's also going to be hard for the extremist, Mourdock, to topple Lugar. We saw Dan Coats prove very tough to stop by tea partiers last time around. Sure, Coats put on the...well...coat of a Tea Partier to win, but his past record and the fact that he was a former member of Congress certainly worked against what the Tea Party stands for.
Anyway, I'm not so sure Donnelly will be alone this time. The Indiana Democratic Party is not the strongest political organization right now, and I don't think they can keep people out. One of those people rumored to be considering a Senate run is Dr. Woodrow Myers, the former Indiana Health Commissioner and Congressional candidate. I've also heard a couple of other names, but I haven't heard them nearly as often or as loud as Myers' name.
I wish Donnelly well, but I really don't like the idea of another middle-of-the-road Democrat running for office. I admit, all could change if and when I talk face-to-face to Donnelly, but I'm just not excited about this announcement.
Should be interesting to see what develops.