Monday, May 18, 2015

Hill Appears Ready to Announce US Senate Bid for 2016

Expect an announcement by Baron Hill that he's running for Senate in 2016.  

Former Congressman Baron Hill
The former U.S. Representative has been making phone calls to key constituency groups and has also tipped off enough people in the know that he's running to go ahead and put him in the race.  Hill is not a bad candidate by any stretch of the imagination, but he has his negatives.

For one, voters in Indiana's 9th Congressional District defeated him in 2010.  He lost by a tick under 10 percentage points to Republican Todd Young.  The 2010 election cycle was not kind to Democrats, so it's easy for Hill to pivot away from that one.

Hill has also been largely away from the political scene since he left office in early 2011.  He may have to work on his name recognition.  This move will lift his profile right back into the center of the ring.  

Hill's conservative leanings won't endear him to the liberal wing of the Indiana Democratic Party, either.  That, however, makes him strangely electable.

In many ways, Hill fits right in with the stereotypical statewide Democratic candidate that we've seen over the past few election cycles.  He's conservative for a Democrat, but he's not as far right as some.  For example, he has some pro-life positions but also some pro-choice positions.  He could be described as pro-LGBT in some ways and anti-LGBT in others if you examine his voting record.  In essence, he's in the middle.

One of his strongest aspects is how he runs a campaign.  He is a great and tireless campaigner.  Famously, when he ran for Senate against Dan Coats in 1990 and famously walked the entire state.  He lost by eight points in that midterm.  

For Hill to maximize his support, he will have to be clear about his views and modernize them where necessary.  Politics has changed in the last four plus years that he's been out of the game, and he would be wise to see it.  

Hill could also be helped by a messy Republican Primary, and it looks like he will get it with Eric Holcomb playing more to the center of the R's and Congressman Marlin Stutzman will play to the far right.

Democrats could also get competition if Christina Hale steps in.  The State Representative has not ruled out a run and neither has former Senator Evan Bayh.

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