Who should get Evan Bayh’s job?

In a little more than a month (May 4), Indiana voters will have a chance to vote in a Primary Election to determine candidates for the General Election in November.

If you’re wondering who will be on the ballot, here’s a list of the Indiana primary candidates for all offices.

One of the most significant races is for the Senate seat that Evan Bayh will be vacating.  Bayh announced his resignation too late for anyone else to get on the primary ballot as a Democrat, so the party leaders get to pick the candidate who will be on the ballot in November.  Although it’s not official yet, the Democratic candidate is expected to be Brad Ellsworth, who is currently representing the 8th District in Congress.

On the Republican side, there are five candidates vying for the chance to go up against Ellsworth.

1.  Don Bates, Jr., who currently works in the banking industry.
2.  Richard Behney, who currently owns a plumbing business.
3.  Dan Coats, who was the 4th District Congressman from 1981 to 1989, Senator from 1989 to 1999, and Ambassador to Germany from 2001 to 2005.
4.  John Hostettler, who was the 8th District Congressman from 1995 to 2007, when he was defeated by Brad Ellsworth.
5.  Marlin Stutzman, who is currently an Indiana State Senator (District 13), and was a State Representative previously.

I know very little about any of these candidates.

Coats certainly has the most experience, and was generally held in high regard for his previous service.  He is more conservative than either Bayh or Lugar, but probably not as socially conservative as some of the other candidates.

Neither Bates nor Behney has much name-recognition, which doesn’t mean they couldn’t go a good job, but it does make it unlikely that they will be able to get a lot of votes.   Nor does either candidate have any political or legislative experience of any kind.  Being a political newcomer isn’t always a bad thing, but a US Senator is the highest legislative office in the country; I think some kind of prior experience ought to be a prerequisite.

Hostettler and Stutzman are similar in a lot of ways, although they come from opposite ends of the state.  Hostettler has more experience and recognition, having been a US Congressman.  As a farmer, Stutzman may have more in common with the average Hoosier.  Stutzman has been endorsed by the majority of his Republican colleagues in the Indiana House and Senate, which speaks well to his character and effectiveness.

I’m not sure who I’ll vote for, but there’s a lot to like about Marlin Stutzman.  I’d like to see either Stutzman, Hostettler, or Coats take over Bayh’s seat, then I’d like for Lugar to retire and one of the other two to take his seat.

Mark Souder is also being challenged for his 3rd District Congressional seat.  Tom Hayhurst is running on the Democratic ticket, but there is also someone named Thomas Schrader.  I think it’s safe to assume that Hayhurst will be the Democratic candidate.  What’s not so sure is whether Souder will be the Republican candidate.  I’m guessing that he will, but there are three other Republicans who think they can do a better job:  Greg Dickman, Bob Thomas, and Phil Troyer.

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