|Former U.S. Senator and Indiana|
Governor Evan Bayh
Furthermore, while we love to get together annually and have a good time at the JJ Dinner or at the IDEA convention, the Indiana Democratic Party has had its struggles trying to eat into the Republican control of the state's major offices. Again, I am probably not telling you anything you don't know as a Democrat.
The real statistics don't make it better. Since 2000, Democrats have won five statewide elections. The late Frank O'Bannon avoided the Y2K bug and won a second term as Governor in 2000. Four years later, Evan Bayh won a second term to the U.S. Senate. For the first time since 1964, Democrats carried Indiana with President Barack Obama in 2008. Most recently, Joe Donnelly was elected to the U.S. Senate, and voters sent Glenda Ritz to the Statehouse as the Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2012. Other than that, Democrats have faced pretty long odds at the ballot box when it comes to statewide offices, especially in the non-Presidential election years.
It's challenging for Democrats, and it's going to take a lot of time, effort, and money to turn things around. Dems have shown the ability to win an office here or there, but it's going to take something more sustained to make the Hoosier State more purple under these maps and over the next few election cycles.
One man is perhaps sitting on some of the answer to this problem. That man is, of course, the aforementioned Evan Bayh who has stashed away millions in his campaign cupboard waiting for who knows what.
Sitting on campaign cash after leaving office is nothing uncommon. According to an article published in USA Today, 141 former Congresscritters and Senators still have campaign cash. It is uncommon to carry as much as Bayh carries in his account.
The former Indiana Governor's campaign account has more than $10 million just sitting there...waiting. That's first on the list of all former members of Congress with money in a campaign account. It's almost six million dollars more than former Massachusetts Congressman Marty Meehan has in his account. In fact, if you combine Meehan's money with the next two names on the list, Tom Harkin's and Dave Camp's, you would only then exceed Bayh's $10.02 million.
So, it begs the question...what is Bayh waiting for? Is he waiting for just the perfect campaign to come along? Is he waiting for that VEEP call? Is he waiting for the right time to make a political comeback?
It's his money, and he can do with it what he wants. It just seems like if Democrats in Indiana are ever going to make a financial move that Bayh could play a big part in being leader in that regard. Hoosier Democrats have shown up and shown out for Evan Bayh for years. Maybe it's time he puts a little bit of that money back into helping grow the party he helped to lead for so many years.