By Rick Howlett
Indiana Congressman Baron Hill announced today he will not seek his party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate seat now held by fellow Democrat Evan Bayh.
Bayh announced this month he would not seek re-election. Hill had been mentioned as a possible primary candidate for the seat, but said today he will endorse fellow Congressman Brad Ellsworth for the nomination.
Because Bayh’s announcement came too close to a deadline for other candidates to submit paperwork to get on the ballot, the nominee will be chosen by the state Democratic Party central committee.
At least one other Democrat, Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott, has expressed interest in the race.
Baron Hill represents southern Indiana’s 9th District and is seeking re-election this year.
Here is the text of Hill’s statement released today:
“Last week I was visiting our brave men and women fighting on the front lines of the War on Terror in Afghanistan. Although overseas, I did receive a call from Senator Bayh regarding his announcement not to seek reelection. Evan has been a devoted public servant to Hoosiers and a fellow companion in pushing for Congress to curb its reckless spending. And while I agree with him that the partisanship in Washington is alarming, to reference my athletic past – I opt to stay in the game and continue to serve as an independent voice for my Southern Indiana constituents.
Because I was away and trying to process this news while focusing on the task at hand – hearing from our troops what they are experiencing in Afghanistan – I took some needed time this week to thoughtfully reflect upon what had transpired. I would like to thank all those whose honest input I sought, including members of the Indiana Democratic Party’s Central Committee and folks from the Ninth District.
While seeking such input, however, I kept my focus on working for the people of the Ninth District of Indiana, evidenced by my meetings with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood regarding local infrastructure projects. My focus has been, and will remain, on fulfilling my job as the congressman from Southern Indiana and continuing to address the most pressing issues our nation and great state face, like deficit reduction, health care reform, energy independence and entitlement spending. That said, I will not seek the nomination for the United States Senate, and will continue my efforts to be re-elected to another term representing the Ninth District of Indiana.
I believe my friend and colleague, Congressman Brad Ellsworth, is the right man to fulfill the task of ensuring a Democrat is elected to succeed Senator Bayh.”